Australian Linux and open source vendor Cybersource has cited the deal -- whereby Telstra secured a four-year Windows desktop upgrade deal at a deeply discounted price of around AU$20 million after aggressively piloting Linux and products such as StarOffice -- in marketing for a new service as an example of how Linux can be used as leverage to secure discounts from Microsoft.
Cybersource said its new Open Source Strategic Planning Service -- to be launched on 1 September -- was a way for businesses to secure both a migration plan to open source and "leverage in your pricing negotiations with proprietary software vendors".
The company said its service includes methodologies for auditing and analysing corporate computing requirements, while it would map out a strategy for "optimising the cost of software licences".
"...if the negotiations don't end in your favour, you can simply take that final step of adopting the plan's roadmap and migrating to Linux and the open source platform," the vendor said.
The company's services manager, Ron Fabre, said Telstra, Munich and Newham Council in the United Kingdom had all "used Linux to dramatically lower their Microsoft bills" and claimed Cybersource could achieve similar.
The company's marketing push also came after Samba co-developer Jeremy Allison told delegates to LinuxWorld 2004 in San Francisco "if you're not piloting a Linux desktop program, you're paying too much for your Microsoft client software".
The moves highlight the rise of Linux and open source solutions as genuine rivals to Microsoft's software in the enterprise arena.
The proprietary software heavyweight this week fell foul of the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority over its Get the Facts campaign, which alleged Linux was up to 10 times more expensive that Windows for certain functions on comparable machines.
In June, Microsoft's director of marketing, Nick Barley, admitted that more businesses were telling Microsoft they were planning to migrate to Linux rather than to the software heavyweight's products in the hope of securing deep discounts.
However, Microsoft still does not rate open source software as a serious threat on the desktop.