Gartner Symposium: Microsoft keen to end European legal action

Microsoft is keen to wind up its outstanding legal action with the European Commission by the end of this year.

Microsoft is keen to wind up its outstanding legal action with the European Commission by the end of this year.

That was a message to corporate IT users from Microsoft's European president Jean-Phillipe Courtois, speaking at Gartner's European Symposium in Cannes today (5 November).

Courtois claimed that Microsoft had taken many measures to address EC concerns about interoperability and integration of its products with those of its competitors.

The Microsoft executive took on the supporters of open-source software, claiming that in 95% of total cost of ownership exercises carried out by banks and other vertical sectors, Windows scored better than Linux.

"Licensing is typically just 5% of the total cost - it's in the deployment and running that Linux is more costly," he said. Courtois added that software licensing needed to be simplified.

The Microsoft executive recognised the difficulty faced by IT directors in explaining .net and Web services concepts to non-technical business people and suggested that case studies were the best way to get the concept across.

He gave examples of cost savings and the ability to personalise services for customers at Bank of New York, Tesco and L'Oréal.

Courtois suggested that integrated mobile computing could double the productivity of information workers within a decade.

He highlighted supermarket giant Tesco as an example. "Tesco is equipping lorry drivers with PDAs not only to download orders from customers and optimise their delivery routes, but also to handle the end-to-end financial transactions with customers," he said.

Courtois repeated Microsoft's security message to Gartner delegates. The process was a "long journey", which started a long time ago. "We understand that we've got to work much, much, harder," he said.

He added that the acquisition of the Navision, the manufacturer of mid-market ERP systems, demonstrates that Microsoft is more than just a sales and marketing operation in Europe.

"We will be more of a real software company in Europe, and the key architects for next-generation business solutions will be based in Denmark," he told the symposium.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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