October 12, 2002

Selling Linux to corporate users via email

- By Robin "Roblimo" Miller -
So I get an email with the subject line, "Slash Your IT Spending Today." I open it, and the first line quotes Fortune Magazine: "Microsoft software runs on Intel hardware. Linux runs on Intel hardware, too, and Linux is *free*. Microsoft most certainly is not." Linux.com and NewsForge already run Linux, of course. But we weren't the primary target of this email marketing campaign which, it turns out, is being run by an Ohio company that specializes in "Enterprise Communication Solutions."

The full text of the email is at the bottom of this article. It came from a Cincinnati-based company called Sysborne. In a phone conversation Friday morning, Sysborne marketing v.p. Gene Travers told me the company has "acquired a [mailing] list of companies in Ohio and nearby states that are runing Exchange server ... also a list of companies that are predominantly Microsoft." Several local media outlets got the same email -- and so did Linux.com, Gene says, because Sysborne's in-house Linux guru, Mike Lane, is a major Linux.com reader.


Why would a Microsoft Solutions Provider push Linux?

Gene admits that Sysborne is "primarily a Microsoft solutions provider," but also says, "some of our in-house servers are Linux."

Sysborne is moving more toward Linux fo its own operation because, Gene says, "we have about 50 employees, and we pay the same per-seat licensing costs as everyone else." And it seems logical to Gene and his co-workers that if Sysborne is getting tired of paying for Microsoft licenses, so are the company's customers, especially since Microsoft's new corporate licensing program went into effect. He says, "It's almost a nightmare for us to keep track of current Microsoft licensing for our customers. Some of the customers who have called in have had total confusion over new Microsoft licensing."

The next logical move, says Gene, is to "look for alternatives. Linux obviously with the cost -- or lack thereof -- the licensing is obviously easier to keep track of." Not only that, there is the freedom aspect to consider. Gene adds, "[Using Microsoft products] is like indentured servitude. Once you get the licensing from Microsoft, you're never free of it."

Sysborne is still a Microsoft shop for the most part. There's no obvious mention of Linux on the company's Web site, something Gene says will change before long. Internally, Sysborne still uses Exchange instead of a Linux-based email/groupware solution, although Gene says people there are evaluating Samsung Contact (formerly HP OpenMail) and other Exchange replacement possibilities, and are thinking about which one(s) would be best to recommend to customers.

"FREE EVALUATION..."

... of your company's existing infrastructure -- a $300 value -- to see if Linux is right for you."

That's what the Sysborne email offers. Gene says it's getting results, that "we've had some interesting leads" from it.

And so, as promised, here is the full text of the email Sysborne is sending to companies in or near Ohio that are currently using Microsoft products. (It may be the strongest, hardest-hitting piece of Linux promotion I have ever seen.)

---------------------------

Slash Your IT Spending Today

"Microsoft software runs on Intel hardware. Linux runs on Intel hardware, too, and Linux is *free*. Microsoft most certainly is not."
Fortune, September 30, 2002

"By 2006, nearly 30% of servers in operation will be running Linux."
IDC, Worldwide Linux Operating Environments Forecast and Analysis, 2002-2006

Why continue to pay outrageous *per seat* licensing fees that can easily cost your company thousands of dollars when there's a proven, cost-effective alternative? Well-known companies such as Boeing, Amazon.com, DreamWorks, General Motors -- even the Chinese and German governments -- have already made the switch to Linux. Let the Linux team at Sysborne show you how this proven Microsoft Windows alternative can save your company money today!

For a limited time, we would like to extend to you an offer of a FREE EVALUATION of your company's existing infrastructure -- a $300 value -- to see if Linux is right for you. Our Linux team will meet with you and your IT staff to discuss options, evauluate the technology and determine the best way to implement Linux in your organization so that you can maximize your ROI day-one. As a Cisco Certified Partner, Sysborne can also help you evaluate your company's voice and data network.

Again, this is a $300 value and is only good through the end of October 31st, 2002, so call Sysborne today at (513) 554-8000, or toll-free at 866-SYSBORNE.

At Sysborne, it's all about improving your bottom line!

Click Here!