Pilot Tests May Bring

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-10-08 Print this article Print

Microsoft to the Table"> Stacey Quandt, senior business analyst at the Robert Francis Group, said, "AT&Ts evaluation of Linux, Mac OS X and Windows is appropriate; however, it does not signify that the company is actively seeking an alternative to a Windows desktop. CIOs should have a process to assess technologies on a continuous basis. Given persistent issues with security, reliability and total cost of ownership, AT&T is acting responsibly."

Laura DiDio, Yankee Group senior analyst, also believes that AT&Ts interest in Linux doesnt mean the company is actively seeking to replace Windows. Instead, "I think that the news that AT&T is pilot-testing Linux and performing due diligence on Linux versus Windows costs is part ploy to bring Microsoft to the negotiating table."
This is meant "to get better licensing T&Cs [terms and conditions], and partially a serious, valid attempt to examine the potential business benefits and cost savings the company might potentially derive from migration to Linux," DiDio said.

"Certainly, the economic downturn of the past three years has created more of a buyers market. Corporate customers and vendors are aware of this. I dont know of very many enterprises that do not have a Linux pilot network in place and that are not at least investigating the pros and cons of a Linux deployment. Thats just good business sense," she said.

Click here to read about reverse migrations from Linux to Windows. But "companies like AT&T need a very compelling reason to move," DiDio said. "So far, AT&T has not definitively said it will move, just that it is testing Linux and that it wont make any decision until the end of 2005. I would expect Microsoft executives to do their level best to persuade AT&T to stick with Windows."

In this buyers market, the analysts agree that many companies are looking at Linux for the desktop, not for its own sake but to use it as a threat to win a better deal from Microsoft. It is a trend that they expect to grow as Linux matures as a desktop environment.

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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