The city council voted on Wednesday to create a draft plan outlining the costs involved in moving back to Windows. If the plan gets the green light, then the return to Windows could take place by the end of 2020.
Munich's move to Linux goes back to 2001, when the idea was first suggested. It came at a time when the city had to either upgrade from Windows NT and 2000 to Windows XP, or else choose a different operating platform.
Munich finally opted for a customised version of the Kubuntu Linux distribution and called it LiMux. By 2013, more than 15,000 desktop systems, out of a total of about 18,000, had been moved to LiMux. At that time, Munich said it had cost €23m to shift to LiMux and OpenOffice, much less than the estimated €34m that an upgrade to Windows 7 and newer versions of Microsoft Office would have eaten up.
The new mayor, Dieter Reiter was once quoted in an interview to the German magazine Stadtbild as saying he was a Microsoft fan. He was later quoted as saying that this had nothing to do with his suggesting that LiMux be junked in favour of Windows and commissioned Accenture, Microsoft's Alliance Partner of the Year in 2016, to report on whether a change should be effected. Accenture also runs a joint business with Microsoft called Avanade that helps businesses implement Microsoft technologies.
The report said that while 18% to 28% of users had software issues that could be solved by moving back to Windows, 15% said they had severe issues using Microsoft Office.
In the case of the city's human resources department, the loudest complainer, which said it needed Windows to run its SAP and Oracle applications and display PDFs correctly, Accenture recommended that different city units should be allowed a choice between Windows and LiMux, depending on which ran their applications better.
Accenture also said that in the end the desktop platform would not really matter all that much because a move to Web-based software-as-a-service was not far away. It added that Munich should look at the option that was cost-effective for the moment.