Security concerns are prompting chief information officers (CIOs) to consider moving from Microsoft to open source on the desktop, according to a report from investment house Merrill Lynch.
A survey of 100 CIOs, (75 in the US and 25 in Europe) found that 58 per cent were looking at open source because of its better record on security.
US CIOs were more likely to be considering Linux on the desktop than their European counterparts, and the report warned that security issues could undermine Microsoft's new licensing programme.
"Microsoft's security problems raise serious questions about the continued adoption of its Software Assurance programme and could open the door for its open source foes," the report said.
The findings contained further bad news for Microsoft. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed indicated that they were unlikely to upgrade to Office 2003 in the next year.
"Without a new killer app in Office, the upgrade cycle looks to be gradual until new XML-based technologies take hold of the broader market," said the report.
Professor Neil Barratt, technical director at security consultant Information Risk Management, said: "My reading of this is that it's a shot across the bows.
"The main beef most CIOs have is patching; the perception is that the Microsoft patching system needs a lot more work.
"I don't think companies will go open source for mainstream applications, but may trial smaller open source projects."
Microsoft replied in a statement: "Microsoft is pleased with the early response to the Microsoft Office System.
"Already, in the US alone, retail sales of Office 2003 are approximately double they were for Office XP in its first few weeks on the market in 2001.
"The number of business customers who have already purchased the rights to install Office 2003 through Volume Licensing is about twice the number of volume licence sales Office XP saw when it launched."
IBM and Technical University of Munich team demonstrate how Shor's algorithm, which can't be cracked by conventional computers, can be solved quickly with quantum computing
Hubble Space Telescope finds superflares from young red dwarfs could strip away planetary atmosphere
Younger stars are 100 to 1,000 times more energetic than when they're older
Two of the big four supermarkets will use the system to control sales of restricted products
PUBG news and updates: November's Update #23 to bring new Skorpion pistol and changes to blue zone visibility
Genuinely useful side-arm coming to PUBG in Update #23