January 22, 2004

Newham council: how Microsoft fought back against the Linux onslaught

At the end of last year, arguably the most IT-savvy government organisation in the UK, Newham Borough Council, stunned observers by dropping out of a
government-sponsored open source project and announcing its decision to partner with Microsoft for all its IT needs. Was the tide turning against
Linux after several months of advance.

It was certainly a sensational coup for Microsoft and helped stopped the momentum that had been building since May 2003, when Munich Council decided
to install Linux on all its computers, cocking-a-snoop at Windows NT and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer personally. The shockwaves from Munich had been
felt in the UK. Particularly when the Office of Government Commerce (OGC had decided to run nine "proof of concept" open-source trials with IBM. While
the Linux community celebrated, Microsoft executives went straight into a war cabinet.

The nine organisations chosen were four central government departments - Office of the deputy prime minister; work and pensions; culture, media and
sport; and e-envoy - the Central Scotland Police Authority, Office of Water Service and three councils - Powys, Newham and Orkney.

Microsoft was desperate to "get a win" and the councils were clearly going to be easier to approach due to their comparatively smaller size, greater
independence and the existence of single heads of IT who were able to make the decision one way or another.

Link: techworld.com


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