You might have seen the IBM announcement of its open client solution (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/21060.wss ) - Lotus collaboration software (Lotus Notes 8 and IBM productivity tools with ODF support, Domino, Sametime, WebSphere Portal, Expeditor) and associated software services to support flexibility and choice for the customer around operating systems (Windows from Microsoft, Linux from Red Hat and Novell, Mac OS 10 from Apple - planned for Lotus Notes 8), platform devices, productivity editors (Microsoft Office on Windows, IBM Productivity Editors or open source products on Linux and Windows), alternatives for application development on thin/rich client (leverage Eclipse RCP). See IDC News Service: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/02/12/HNibmlinuxopenclient_1.html However, some are reporting that Microsoft is not very happy with this http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/operating_systems/microsoft_is_not_very_hapy_about_ibms_new.html Well....
1. IBM financials for Y2006 show 30% revenue growth for Lotus software in Q4 and also 9 consecutive quarters of growth.
2. Open standards based software does provide flexibility and choice to the customer, ISVs, and Systems Integrators. Flexibility and choice is about operating systems, platforms, productivity editors, applications, collaboration software, application development, and rich/thin client. Microsoft products runs on Windows only, and often have complicated product inter-dependencies. According to Avinash Singh, COO of Birlasoft (http://www.birlasoft.com ), a Systems Integrator based out of New Jersey, "IBM's open client solution is very timely. It allows us to offer more value to our customers who either want to move to Linux desktops or drive a heterogeneous client strategy. This solution can help them reduce costs while increasing organizational productivity. It is all about offering flexibility and choice for our customers."
3. Customers are being Vista "challenged" in terms of cost of software, hardware, deployment, falling short of security features (http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2007/01/vista_firewall.html?chan=search ), printer and device drivers (http://www.enterprisenetworksandservers.com/newsflash/art.php?698 ). "MIT flunked Vista" recently (http://www.varbusiness.com/sections/news/breakingnews.jhtml;jsessionid=RLEG1GEALNJJIQSNDLOSKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleId=197004760 ). Office 2007 requires end user training. Customers are also concerned about "after Vista what" -- I spend all this money and cant get locked out of innovation -- do i move to "Live"? when? Why not continue to stay on Windows XP or the like. Others say: I have to "migrate" anyways, so why not leverage Linux? As you may know, many experts are "OOXML challenged" also (http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20070117145745854 )
4. Customers are also figuring out a way to free up lots of money in their IT budget by deciding to take alternative procurement strategies instead of renewing/signing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement - "a la carte vs buffet". So says several analysts and press (http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/lotus/general.nsf/wdocs/license )
So despite any criticism out there, my take is that the open client solution is real and deep and its all about bringing value, flexibility, ease and choice to customers.