IBM Brandishes Ubuntu Before Microsoft’s Dragon

December 6, 2008

Microsoft used it’s highly effective business strategies to gain an effective monopoly in the computer software industry in the early 1990’s.  Since then, businesses have had very little choice when making decisions about what software to use, as the Windows/Office combination has become an effective standard, as everyone is now locked into Microsoft’s proprietary formats.  This lack of choice has caused Microsoft’s high priced products to continue to sell, irregardless of the product’s actual quality.  Corporate competition has been made near impossible as Microsoft’s highly profitable products sell, not based on value, but out of inertia.  Unfortunately for Microsoft, this lack of competition has enabled Microsoft to produce products of reduced quality, without a disruption in sales figures to mandate internal changes.  With the high cost/low value release of Windows Vista, corporations are becoming more apt to consider alternatives.  IBM is stepping into that vacuum and offering a low cost/high value alternative solution to the business desktop model which has the potential to shatter Microsoft’s stranglehold on the market.

Yesterday, IBM issued a Press Release announcing their new desktop solution which utilizes a combination of Ubuntu, IBM’s Lotus Symphony, and server hosted virtual desktops using a solution called VERDE from Virtual Bridges.

Here are a few highlights:

Compared to Microsoft-based desktops, this virtual desktop solution, including industry-leading components from IBM, Virtual Bridges and Canonical, is estimated on average to deliver cost savings from:

  • Licensing: cost avoidance of $500 to $800 per user on software license for Microsoft Office, Windows and all related products
  • Hardware: cost avoidance of around $258 per user since there is no need to upgrade hardware to support Windows Vista and Office 2007
  • Power consumption: cost avoidance of $40 to $145 per user from reduced power to run the configuration and $20 to $73 per user from reduced air conditioning requirements from lower powered desktop devices annually
  • IT services: 90 percent savings of deskside PC support; 75 percent of security/user administration; 50 percent of help desk services such as password resets, and 50 percent for software installations, which are replaced by software publishing

Standard pricing for a 1,000-user VERDE deployment is $49 per user.

With the benefits of open standards over a proprietary platform come the freedom to select software in a heterogeneous environment,” said Malcolm Yates, vice president, Canonical. “Combining Ubuntu with IBM’s Open Client software applications we can break out of Microsoft dependencies completely and significantly reduce total cost of ownership.

Here is the full Press Release: IBM and Business Partners Introduce a Linux-Based, Virtual Desktop

When I consider the combination of the efforts of the Ubuntu community, the vision of Canonical guiding development, and the backing of companies like IBM, I have no doubt that widespread adoption of Ubuntu will soon reach a tipping point.  The infrastructure is in place, and the gears are turning; we just have to reach critical mass.  Having the word Ubuntu on a resume is feeling more and more valuable by the hour.

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