City council meetings in Munich usually don’t attract much interest beyond city limits. But this day in February is no ordinary day. Press and audience fill the benches in the main auditorium of the magnificent neo-Gothic town hall to capacity. Even the aisles are full of people, and local politicians refer to media inquiries from all over Germany and other parts of Europe.
For ten years, a team of experts have worked to move the municipal computer system from the American IT giant Microsoft to open software. Even with the huge costs of training and developing software, this change has saved the municipality of Munich 11 million euros in seven years. Though not everything has run smoothly the transition is a huge success, declared the deputy mayor in 2014.
But now mayor Dieter Reiter and his coalition government of SPD and CSU want to return to Microsoft with all 24,000 PC’s of the city .
Florian Roth, chairman of the Green group in Munich asks: “Do we really want to make our administration increasingly dependent on the American monopolist Microsoft?”
The question is by no means exaggerated, and it is not just a question to be asked regarding Munich. Throughout Europe, from Finland to Portugal, from Ireland to Greece, the information technology (IT) of public administrations is based on programs of the US software company….
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