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RealTime IT News

Microsoft "Buys" Telkom, says Novell

National telecoms provider Telkom announced yesterday that it is to replace its existing Novell system with the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, leading to charges by Novell SA's MD that Microsoft is willing to "buy business" in a desperate bid to gain credibility for its Windows 2000 operating system.

Responding to Telkom's announcement, Novell's Richard Breytagh lashed out at Microsoft's "monopolistic" business practices, saying that the software company is willing to "buy business" at any cost to itself.

After reviewing proposals from both companies, Telkom opted for a three-year project to swap the current Novell-based network operating system, directory services and "Netware" solutions with a Microsoft Windows 2000-based solutions. Telkom claims that this arrangement will save R45-million over three-years in reduced maintenance costs.

Prior to Telkom's announcement, Breytagh launched a scathing attack on the Windows 2000 operating system. "For a company the size of Telkom to place its operations on something that is as untested as Windows2000 would be irresponsible, to say the least," Breytagh commented. "Besides requiring new hardware, Windows 2000 is still an untested environment, and the Active Directory currently holds zero percent of the market share," he explained.

Breytagh dismissed suggestions that the Windows 2000 system would represent a more efficient system than the Novell system. "If it can be proven that Microsoft products out-perform and provide more than Novell can, then I will be happy to concede the account," he responded. "But we aren't even on a level playing field here, we cannot compete with products that are given away for free."

"Microsoft Spin Won't Fool All"

Despite this, Breytagh believes that other companies will not be so easily duped by the Microsoft spin machine. "Similar large companies are not being fooled by what is happening at Telkom and have seen through Microsofts marketing exploitation of the evaluation exercise." he says. Breytagh believes that having awarded the contract to Microsoft, the telecoms company will now be locked into the Microsoft environment having curtailed their own ability to choose between best-of-breed solutions.

As a final swipe at Microsoft, Breytagh alleges that the company is now targeting countries such as South Africa not as advanced in their anti-monopoly legislation, having been brought to book for similar offences overseas. He revealed that a feature of the Telkom proposal was the fact that it included a number of "bundled" products. "Although the customer is already using the same products from other vendors, it is being forced to consider those included in the bu