great pun for the article title – The Seven Year Niche. a story from CFO on open source. purse string holders are thinking about Linux if CFO is writing about it.
“We evaluated Linux in 1999 and didn’t feel it was ready for prime time,” says Mike Jones, senior vice president and CIO at retailer Circuit City Stores in Richmond, Virginia. “It has come a long way since then, and our confidence has increased.” So much so, in fact, that Circuit City has launched a project to roll out Linux-based point-of-sale systems from IBM at its 600 nationwide retail outlets beginning in March. The strategy is part of a “revitalization effort” that will move its stores from customized, proprietary systems to software based on open standards, says Jones.
This story is interesting because many retailers, like banks, are currently considering branch infrastructure refreshes. IBM is quietly and gently encouraging customers to move to Linux-based systems, rather than using legacy proprietary 4690, Microsoft Windows or even DOS systems. Microsoft has stepped forward with its own Windows XP Embedded for Point Of Service line, and the two will be fighting it out bitterly in customer accounts over the next couple of years. Retailers are getting savvy to point of sale mobility–thus Woolworths in the UK, for example, will use wireless chip and pin systems at Christmas to reduce customer queues without having to install new registers.
Microsoft calls it point of service. IBM calls is point of sale. One thing is for sure–the this is a major growth opportunity for IBM and Linux.