Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft No Longer Able to Hide Financial Decline, More Losses to GNU/Linux in Russia

The beginning of the end of an era?

Following the great news from Brazil (reported only yesterday) we have a lot more positive news to share today.

On several occasions in the past we wrote about Microsoft hiding evidence of its real financial health. Well, this old paper-and-ink routine seems to have run out of stamina because Microsoft reported a significant drop in profits and its stock tanked. Here it is from Microsoft's 'back yard' press, whose bias -- if any -- typically works in Microsoft's favour.

Microsoft said today its fiscal third-quarter profit fell 11 percent compared with a year ago, when revenue from pre-sales of the new Windows Vista operating system pushed up results.

[...]

Earnings were also depressed by 15 cents per share due to a legal fine from the European Commission.

[...]

Microsoft shares fell $1.25 in after-hours trading, after adding 35 cents to $31.80 during the regular session.


Found moments ago there are also the following links which seem to indicate that the Moscow region government is moving to GNU/Linux. Both stories are in Russian:

http://www.mandriva.ru/novosti/mosk_obl/

http://www.comnews.ru/index.cfm?id=36491

There is some background to this and Microsoft is clearly losing grip in Russia. Recent stories of interest include:

Linux being launched at schools

Besides the operating system the package is to comprise some freely distributed programs, close to MS Office by their functionality, which are to be used on computers with the following characteristics: 233 MHz and 128MB DDR.


Russian Postal Service Wears Red Hat

Russian Post and American company Red Hat signed the Protocol of intentions on IT development based on open freeware earlier this month. Andrey Pogodin, Deputy Director General of FSUE Russian Post and Jim Whitehurst, President of Red Hat signed the document within the framework of meeting. The parties agreed to join efforts to implement operating system Linux and other software products with open code in Russian Post’s IT-structure.


IBM to offer Linux machines

The machines, it was announced, will come with Red Hat's Linux distro, and will come pre-loaded with software from IBM, including its Lotus Symphony suite.


OpenReferent - a New Open Source Challenge to Microsoft Desktop Software

Mr Pogodin, Deputy General Director of Post of Russia, said: "Post of Russia, which has 42,000 post offices through out the country, can significantly lower the cost of ownership of the Information System." Post of Russia is one of the first customers that signed up to evaluate themove from Microsoft based desktops to OpenReferent solution.

[...]

Open Referent is based on the recently announced IBM Lotus Open Collaboration Client Solution with Red Hat.

Business partners classified as Red Hat Advanced Business Partners and Lotus-authorized IBM Business Partners may sell the Red Hat and IBM Lotus products globally with a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, and may additionally offer a six-month Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop trial.


Open Source Market: FOSS getting hot in Russia

Recent interest towards FOSS from the Russian government has boosted commercial activity in this field. No longer than a year ago there was no single large company that would say it is capable of doing FOSS system integration projects. Now there are three, and the number will probably grow.

Nobody is particularly sure about how to do business with FOSS, but it is already evident that it can be done somehow. That is why the larger ones are jumping on the bandwagon simply not to be late.


A bit older:

2010: Russia's open software market to grow 4-fold

Analysts note that Linux vendors are traditionally present on the mobile device market. According to forecasts the OS might become the leader in the segment accounting for 40% of it by 2010. "Currently the share of mobile devices with Linux OS is not big in Russia as compared to other countries, such as China, for instance. However, the producer's policy, Nokia in particular testifies to the fact the situation is changing for the better", Ms. Karaeva concluded.


Mandriva Linux selected as "Product of the Year 2007" at the Russian Softool event

Mandriva has been selected as 'Product of the Year 2007' in the Linux category at the Softool exhibition in Moscow. The 'Product of the Year 2007' competition was held by the department of information technologies and computing systems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Federal Agency of Information Technologies, the publishing house SK Press, and IT-expo.

[...]

Mandriva Linux will also soon be certified by the Federal Service of Export and Technical Control, allowing public sector agencies and organizations dealing with confidential information to use Mandriva Linux.


Russian public agencies choose Mandriva

Mandriva development is carried out jointly by Mandriva's offices in Russia, France and Brazil. The Mandriva Linux OS is thus considered a national OS for Russia. The decision of FSTEC of the Russian Federation (RF) implied that Russian public agencies will be authorised to use the Mandriva Linux OS on PCs running confidential information.


Russian Government Will Migrate to OpenSource

Russia decided to follow after EU countries, where opensource solutions are more spread then in Russia. Currently, some Russian companies can offer their own Desktop Linux OS (the major companies are ASPLinux, ALTLinux, Linux-Online and LinuxCenter).


Russian schools abandon Windows after piracy scare

Microsoft says that the incident has nothing to do with them, but it appears that Russian schools in the area are so scared about being shipped off to a Siberian Gulag, that they are buying Linux gear instead.

[...]

According to Karpushin, schools would start using freely distributed software like the Linux OS, Russky office and Open office desktop apps, Ekho Moskvi reports.


Linux Education in America: Inspiration from Russia?

The reason that the Russian announcement is funny boils down to the perception over the years that Russia equates to totalitarianism, whilst here in America we're all about Freedom and innovation. Yet our educational system -- the very underpinnings of how we're growing out future technological talent, is based upon the inversion of what one would expect given the respective reputations of both countries.


Russia is latest country to move towards OpenDocument format and open standards

The stated rationale for this legislation is that “open standards will contribute to an increased number of bidders for government contracts and will increase opportunities for Russian software developers... [and] the problem of interoperability will be addressed as will the ability to access information into the future.”


Russian Linux (ALTLinux) to be installed in every school in Russia

Russian OS is to be installed on every school computer in Russia by 2009. Furthermore, every pupil will get the opportunity to operate the applied software produced in Russia, Leonid Reiman, acting Minister of Communication stated at a press conference. According to Mr. Reiman, that might significantly reduce Russian dependence on foreign software.


Linux being launched at schools

Besides the operating system the package is to comprise some freely distributed programs, close to MS Office by their functionality, which are to be used on computers with the following characteristics: 233 MHz and 128MB DDR.


Here is a story from yesterday:

Linux Ubuntu PCs set for sale in Russia

Linux Ubuntu installation on PCs sold by Excimer and NT Computer is to be launched within the nearest month. Consequently, Ubuntu sales in Russia might reach 300 thousand units. Ubuntu 8.04 released on April 24, 2008 is more likely to be preinstalled.


There are very good times for GNU/Linux, but vigilance is still necessary because Microsoft has plans for Russia. It also tries to sell lock-ins. Spotted a week or so ago:

Microsoft tightens hold in regions

The Leningrad Regional administration and the Microsoft Company have signed an agreement ‘of intent in IT implementation’. Thus, the Leningrad Region confirms its commitment to set up e-government following the suit of St. Petersburg, where a similar Bill Gates Corporation’s project has been used for more than half a year.


Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.

"A prominent example of open source software is the Linux operating system... To the extent open source software gains increasing market acceptance, sales of our products may decline, we may have to reduce the prices we charge for our products, and revenue and operating margins may consequently decline. "

--Microsoft (in its latest SEC filing)

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