IBM Challenges Microsoft Lock-In with ‘Open Client Solution’
February 19, 2007 Alex Woodie
IBM last week unveiled its “Open Client Solution,” a bundle of existing desktop productivity applications that will run on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh PCs. While the bundle doesn’t include any new software, IBM says internal deployments have showed it how to efficiently deploy the same products across multiple operating systems, which, in turn, will help customers avoid vendor lock-in–an arrow aimed squarely at Microsoft and its monopoly on the desktop.
The IBM Open Client Solution includes a hodge-podge of products from IBM and its business partners, including Lotus Notes and Domino, Lotus Sametime, WebSphere Portal, Mozilla‘s Firefox, and the Open Document Format (ODF). (We realize ODF is neither an application nor a vendor, but that’s what IBM said. We assume IBM was referring to the Open Office productivity suite, which is free, cross-platform, and uses ODF as its default file format. But IBM didn’t get back to us by press time, so we could not confirm that point.)
All of this software runs on Windows and Linux, and will also run on Macintosh, once Lotus Notes version 8 ships later this year.
While Windows is supported by the Open Client Solution, IBM main goal in launching the solution is bolstering the uptake of Linux on the desktop. To that end, the solution includes services from IBM to help customers migrate their users from Windows to Linux. According to IBM’s announcement, “only minor changes are typically required to run [the software] on different operating system platforms.”
IBM says Open Client Solution will benefit customers by enabling them to buy a single stack of productivity software, rather than assembling and testing their own creations.
“With the Open Client platform we’ve internally battle-tested a Linux-based solution running Lotus software in one of the world’s largest enterprises based on what customers have been demanding from the market,” says Scott Handy, vice president of worldwide Linux and open source for IBM. “We’ve met those market needs by creating a single flexible software stack that only requires one set of investment and one team of developers to run on multiple operating systems.”
IBM says Open Client Solution is now available around the world. Pricing was not disclosed.