Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it had given a dozen national governments access to its Windows source code in its battle to win lucrative public sector contracts and muffle mounting hype over rival software Linux. Earlier this year, Microsoft started a new initiative called Government Software Program that involved opening up its flagship Windows operating system to governments interested in tailoring the software to fit, primarily, their security needs. Microsoft said 12 countries, including Austria, Russia, China and the UK, had entered into the new deals, with another 35 in negotiation, since the program started in January. The stakes are high. An increasing number of corporations and governments are turning to the so-called open-source Linux software to run their desktop and networked computer systems, posing the biggest threat yet to Microsoft’s dominant market position in computer operating systems. Microsoft has turned up the heat in its offensive against vendors of Linux software and services — which range from software titan International Business Machines to Red Hat Inc. — creating special funds and discounts to win over budget-conscious potential customers. Full Story
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