Businesses That Dumped Microsoft ... and Won

Competition has caused these seven users to trade in their Microsoft wares for alternatives from other vendors.

When monopoly meets budget crunch

Over the past couple of years, Microsoft shops have been increasingly wooed by vendors offering alternatives to Windows, Exchange, Microsoft Office and other Microsoft wares. The competition has grown so fierce that in May, Red Hat went so far as to sue Switzerland (and win), saying that it could not grant Microsoft a no-bid contract for Office when so many other options exist.

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LA pays for Gmail with Microsoft's money

In October, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $7.25 million five-year deal Tuesday in which the city will adopt Gmail and other Google Apps. Ironically, just over $1.5 million for the project came from the payout of a 2006 class action lawsuit between the city and Microsoft. Microsoft paid $70 million three years ago to settle the suit, brought on behalf of six California counties and cities who alleged that Microsoft used its monopoly position to overcharge for software.

Equitec reduces 100 Windows servers to 30 on Ubuntu

Chicago-based financial services company Equitec Group, LLC, was running a mission-critical, proprietary trading app on 100 Windows-based servers. When performance issues hit, the company decided to move to Ubuntu Server 8.04 LTS. Along with that move, Equitec moved its database from Sybase on Windows to the MySQL version that comes with Ubuntu. Because the performance problems are gone, as of the summer, Equitec has been running the same workload on just 30 Ubuntu-based servers.

Avago Technologies gives Exchange the send-off, saves $1.6 million

Avago Technologies' CIO Bob Rudy moved over 4,000 employees from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps and said saved $1.6 million by doing so. The rising cost of storage was one of his motivating forces, he said in a YouTube video posted in June. His company's adoption coincided with Google's release of its "Apps Sync" adapter that lets users access Gmail with Outlook. He said of the adapter: "For me, it eliminates the last hurdle or mindset for letting go of [Microsoft] Exchange or the Exchange mentality" said Rudy. "This will help with adoption."

Serena Software: Six hours and Exchange was gone

Serena Software, a privately owned company with 29 offices in 14 countries and 800 employees, is another flagship customer for Google Apps. It ousted Microsoft Exchange over the summer in an amazing cutover which took a grand total of six hours. Ron Brister, senior manager of Global IT Operations at Serena Software explained in the Official Google Enterprise Blog, "Inbox storage space was a constant complaint. Server maintenance was extremely time-consuming, and backups were inconsistent. Then we found that - calculating additional licenses of Microsoft Exchange, client access licenses for users, disaster recovery software, and additional disk storage space to increase mailbox quotas to 1.5GB - staying with our existing provider would have cost us upwards of $1 million. That was a nearly impossible number to justify with executives." Brister says the company saves $750,000 annually with Gmail and Google Apps.

Allianz sees green with Red Hat-based mainframe

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited employs about 3,000. As part of a nationwide program, the company has a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2012. So in the spring of 2009, it commenced an overhaul of an aging Windows Server infrastructure and installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux on an IBM System z10 mainframe. At the same time it yanked out older Intel (INTC) boxes running Websphere and moved to JBoss Enterprise Middleware on HP ProLiant servers. It opted for a new network in the form of the Red Hat Network Satellite. By using virtualization on the new hardware, it reduced its data center power needs and saved $500,000 in middleware licensing costs.

New Zealand Post set off to renew MS Office

In July, Google signed on the New Zealand Postal Service as one of its largest users of Google Apps at the time. Earlier in summer, NZ Post entered into what it thought was a routine renegotiation with Microsoft to renew licenses for MS Office. The talks didn't go well and NZ Post instead decided to yank out Microsoft Office and roll out Google Apps to 2,100 employees. The deal was expected to save the country $2 million in hardware costs over three years, it said.

Silverlight strikes out with Major League Baseball

Adobe (ADBE) Flash grabbed Major League Baseball's Web site from Microsoft Silverlight in the fall of 2008. had been a marquee account for Silverlight. But the Web site suffered from multi-day video problems at the opening of the 2008 season that had fans fuming. Adobe made the announcement of the two-year deal with MLB at its annual Adobe Max conference in San Francisco.

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