Orginele brief van Michael Robertson (CEO Linspire) aan Balkenende

Dear Prime-Minister Balkenende,

It was recently brought to my attention that a bid has been circulating
for software for 260,000 desktops for the Dutch government. I wanted to
express Linspire\'s eagerness to provide a complete and in-depth
proposal for the software required for these machines. I believe we
have the ability to save you a substantial amount of money yet deliver
high-quality products and services.

First, here is some background on Linspire: We are a software company
focusing on providing full-featured and easy-to-use Linux software for
desktop and laptop computers. We are based in the United States where
we have seen solid success. Just this week, we launched a laptop series
with the world\'s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, starting at just 375
euros. We also sell outside the United States.

We have been selling our product in the Netherlands for nearly two
years via well-known distributors like Mensys BV. If you look at our
global user map at you will see a strong cluster of users
from Netherlands, which is a testimony to the popularity of our
software in your country. In fact, the first book ever on Linspire was
published in Dutch, which illustrates the interest in our products. As
CEO of Linspire, I have personally visited the Netherlands to better
understand that market,and I am personally committed to this region.

As I understand it, there is an open-bid process for a 60,000 desktop
deployment over a 5-year period. First, let me commend you for an open
bidding process. Even if you don\'t select Linspire, competition will
help you secure the best possible value with your tax dollars. Second,
let me commend you for considering open source/Linux options. These
technologies have greatly advanced over the last few years and many
people are attracted to Linux\'s security, affordability and stability,
and Linspire has worked very hard to also make Linux extremely

I was not able to secure the precise requirements of the proposal, but
I can provide you with a rough estimate that may be valuable for broad
comparison purposes. For a 260,000 seat deployment we would charge
approximately 4.55 Euros per year per machine over the 5 year period.
This would provide you with complete operating system licenses with
updates, essential business software such as an office suite, complete
access to our 1,900-title software library for every computer, and
customization to your specific needs on-site.

The total cost of our proposal would be 5,915,000 euros. My sources
have revealed that Microsoft has submitted a formal proposal of
156,000,000 euros -- an estimate of 150,000,000 euros more than
Linspire\'s proposal. I want to stress that even with the dramatic cost
difference, you will receive a comparable product and we believe better
service from Linspire. Let me explain why. First, because we are
Linux-based, we are able to produce a high-quality product at a
substantially lower cost and are able to pass those savings to you.
Second, this would be a significant contract for our company, which
would have the attention of our entire organization from myself on
down. Because it is based on Linux, the Linspire operating system is
free from the normal security threats found on most PCs, including
viruses, hackers, and spies. Finally, the open source nature of our
product would ensure that you would not be locked into our product line
or support only from our company. You would be guaranteed the ability
to audit the code yourself or engage a wide array of companies familiar
with Linux to assist with your computing needs.

There are several corporations that are in the process of deploying
Linspire that we would be able to provide as references. In addition,
we can provide names of satisfied users, businesses and home users who
are using Linspire on a daily basis in the Netherlands.

I would like to follow up this very informal proposal with an official
proposal. I look forward to examining closer the needs of the Dutch
government to tailor a proposal that is comprehensive and


Michael Robertson
CEO, Linspire

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