A little bewildered by Australia's public sector charge toward Linux, Microsoft claims misguided 'perceptions' and 'misinformation' has derailed the IT purchasing debate.
Pointing to IDC research showing the software giant doesn't even make the top five when it comes to being an IT supplier to government, a local Microsoft official said the facts are very different to what "open source proponents would have us believe".
"External perception is that Microsoft has a stranglehold on government purchasing, but IBM is by far and away the largest supplier of IT products and services to government and also one of the key open source vendors," she said.
"So who really is the big bad wolf and who really benefits from the open source debate?"
Commissioned by Microsoft and undertaken by IDC senior services analyst Phillip Allen, the recently released research shows Microsoft accounts for 3.7 percent of government spending compared to 13.2 percent for IBM, 9.8 percent for Hewlett-Packard and 7.1 percent for CSC which hold the top three positions.
At state level, both the South Australian and NSW governments have openly advocated open source and only this week the Australian Tax Office announced it is opening its Microsoft-dominated standard operating environment (SOE) to products such as Linux.
As a leading government agency when it comes to setting the IT agenda, the ATO's move to open source inevitably opens the floodgates for more to follow, but Microsoft Australia managing director Steve Vamos told CW, "We have no objection to customers seeking out alternatives.
"These assessments cannot hurt us, because our solution is the best and we will win on price and value; we have a proven track record," Vamos said.
"Of course we are looking for more opportunities to supply to government, but customers choose us because we provide consistent value for money.
"Many technologies have come and gone and many philosophies have come and gone, but we are prepared to invest locally and work with local companies."
Vamos also rejected calls by the Open Source Victoria (OSV) industry cluster to exclude Microsoft from a single round of federal government tenders "to help reduce the supplier's monopoly position within the market".
OSV member Adam Crow accused the government of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on software purchased by proprietary vendors that could be replaced by open source equivalents.
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