Sat, Nov 11, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Central Trust of China expands PC procurement plan

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Central Trust of China (中央信託局) yesterday said it had decided to expand procurement of PC models for government to ensure the use of both Linux and Windows operating systems (OS).

Central Trust -- whose business operations include banking, insurance, trade and warehousing -- is in charge of purchasing computers and related IT products for government agencies and education institutions.

According to the state-run enterprise, there were originally 11 desktop units planned for an upcoming tender. These machines were designed for use with either Windows or Linux operating systems, but not both -- a change from the previous tender, which mandated that all desktops run on both operating systems.

But earlier this month Central Trust decided to expand the number of units included under the tender to 44, with 11 items each for machines running exclusively on Windows or Linux as well as a pool of barebone machines that can run on either system.

"The new requirements follow the market trend and we are open to discussion with software and hardware vendors," a Central Trust source, speaking on codition of anonymity, told the Taipei Times yesterday.

The source said the state-run unit decided to change the operating system requirements after "gathering feedback from other government agencies."

He did not elaborate.

The change of specifications for a desktop computer to run on both operating systems will make the machine more costly compared to a system-dedicated machine, and now there are three different options to cater to the needs of different parties, he said.

The tender change is viewed as a victory for Microsoft Corp -- whose Windows operating system enjoys market dominance internationally -- after lobbying Central Trust for the change, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported earlier this week.

Microsoft Taiwan refused to comment on the report yesterday.

The new tender for PCs, the 12th conducted by China Trust, is expected to start next Thursday, and will run for six months, the enterrprise source said.

The last tender saw China Trust purchase 70,000 PCs for the government. Volumes for the next round are yet to be determined, he added.

The combined volumes of both tenders accounted for 20 percent of the nation's desktop market, he said.

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