Locked in by choice: Why Munich is dropping open source for Microsoft

For a decade, a team of experts have worked to transfer Munich’s local government computer system from the US IT giant Microsoft to open source software. Despite hefty costs for training, this change has saved the municipality of Munich €11m in seven years.

But now lord mayor Dieter Reiter and his coalition in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) want to connect the city back to Microsoft. The argument is highly political.

Dieter Reiter says the move – widely regarded as controversial – is driven by the desire to make the city’s IT more efficient and secure.

“My aim is not to operate ideologically against a certain operating system. I just want good IT,” he says.

Reiter chose to commission a firm of consultants that had close connections with Microsoft to review the city’s IT strategy, but denies there was any conflict of interest.

“A quarter of all desktop systems run on Windows. And this is only because otherwise the applications would not work and we could not make them work on Linux,” he says.

Other political parties oppose the move. “Apparently, it is only a ‘political power game’,” says Florian Roth, head of the Green Group.

This is part of a series of videos by Investigate Europe.

Read the full story by Investigate Europe on Computer Weekly here.

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