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IBM wants clients to ditch Microsoft

Virtually scrambling for customers
Thu Dec 04 2008, 11:42

TEAMING UP WITH Virtual Bridges and Ubuntu provider Canonical, IBM has started offering a virtual desktop package with three software components all sitting on one corporate server, which the firm hopes will lure customers away from Microsoft.

The "'Microsoft free' bundle, which provides open source Linux, Lotus messaging and collaboration software to desktops and workstations across remote offices, is also set to save firms a bundle, according to IBM.

Including the VERDE virtual desktop from Virtual Bridges, Ubuntu Linux OS from Canonical and IBM's Open Collaboration Client ‘Solution’ software, the Linux-based software package, available as we type, runs on a back-office server and is accessible to customers on thin clients, which don't have processing units or hard drives.

With a price range from $49 a seat for a 1,000-seat deployment to $289 a user, depending on how much software and services is required, IBM reckons it could save corporate customers some $800 per user compared to the cost of using the Vole’s Vista.

Throwing more impressive, yet possibly meaningless percentages around, IBM said its virtual desktop would provide 90 per cent savings on desk-side PC support, 75 per cent savings on security and user administration and 50 per cent on help desk services and software installations, compared to Mighty-Soft’s stuff. They politely refrained from adding "In your face, Voley!".

But whether you believe those percentages or not, IBM’s big advantage with this announcement is the pull of virtualisation, unchaining corporate lackeys from their desks and from being tied down to just one specific machine. Also, the flexibility of IBM’s virtual desktop means the physical desktops don't even actually have to run Ubuntu, they can run Apple's Mac OS X, other Linux OSes or even Microsoft’s Windows.

And with the state of the economy right now, IBM might find it can cash in on going cheap and Vole Free.

The Wall Street Journal


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