Governments, Microsoft, and open source software

Economist: Microsoft at the power point.

Government purchases of software totalled almost $17 billion globally in 2002, and the figure is expected to grow by about 9% a year for the next five years, according to IDC, a market-research firm (see chart). Microsoft controls a relatively small part of this market, with sales to governments estimated at around $2.8 billion. But it is a crucial market, because when a government opts for a particular technology, the citizens and businesses that deal with it often have to fall into line. No wonder Microsoft feels threatened—the marriage of open-source software and government could be its Achilles heel.


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