Disillusioned CIO Plans Conversion to Macintosh

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Disillusionment with Windows has one CIO considering the move away from Microsoft in his business. Driven by rising Windows license fees, endless hardware upgrades, and treatment by Microsoft, a Tacoma, Wash. company is planning its migration to Macs, according to SearchCIO.

Dale N. Frantz is the CIO of Auto Warehousing CO, and heis recently started a proof-of-concept project to convert his company to Macs. Mr. Frantz is fed up with the rising price of Windows licenses. The challenge, however, is to replace the front end of his ERP system based on Microsoftis SQL Server with Mac clients.

"Can we truly come up with a front-end application that will perform enough of our business functions so that it can meet our operational needs?" Mr. Frantz asked. "Right now Iive seen a proof of concept, but itis a pretty big leap from proof of concept to actual production."

Thereis a lot at stake. His company is the largest company in North America that handles automobile accessorizing. Even so, Mr. Frantz is annoyed that Microsoft keeps raising its prices and said that Microsoft "seems to feel that each subsequent operating system is worth a greater amount of money than the previous one."

Another Microsoft tactic that Mr. Frantz didnit care for was the ominous audit process that Microsoft uses with some customers. "Last year, Microsoft notified Frantz that he might have some improperly licensed software products in his environment. Microsoft wanted to send some analysts to search through the company for any license violations," SearchCIO reported.

"Frantz was surprised because he kept meticulous records of his purchases and license. He did an internal audit and shared the results with Microsoft, but Redmond wasnit satisfied. Eventually Frantz turned the matter over to his lawyer, who informed him the accusations were likely some sort of sales tactic for a Microsoft asset management product."

"That left a bad taste in our mouth," according to Mr. Frantz.

An important technology that CIOs are becoming aware of is the OS agnostic nature of Web 2.0. The new Browser-based applications make the migration, especially to an open standards system like Mac OS X, more approachable. However, Web 2.0 doesnit answer every need, and many business critical apps are still Windows-based. Appleis server products, open source applications and products like Appleis Boot Camp can go a long way to assist organization motivated to make the change.

Despite all that, Mr. Frantz reported that his staff is apprehensive. The network administrators are troubled and his developers donit yet know how to write code for Macs. "People are a little bit nervous," Mr. Frantz said. "I try my best to reassure them and tell them Iill bring anyone along for the ride that wants to come along for that ride."

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