Microsoft's Tired TCO Toffee

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Those with good memories may recall a phase that Microsoft went through in which it issued (and generally commissioned) a stack of TCO studies that “proved” Windows was better/cheaper than GNU/Linux. Of course, they did nothing of the sort, since the methodology was generally so flawed you could have proved anything.

I'd thought that even Microsoft had recognised that this was a very weak form of attack, so I was surprised to come across this:

For businesses looking to save money, open source software might seem like a way to cut costs. But on closer inspection, firms are discovering the hidden costs of open source and how Microsoft Office represents the most economical option for their productivity and collaboration needs.

One business that recently made the switch from open source to Microsoft and hasn’t looked back is Speedy Hire, one of Britain’s largest companies specializing in rentals of tools and equipment.

PressPass spoke with James Fleming, infrastructure and support manager at Speedy Hire, to find out how migrating to a Microsoft productivity and business management platform will help the company save a projected one million pounds (US$1.48 million) over the next five years.

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Surprised, but pretty bored. After all, this one didn't even attempt to come up with a methodology, but was purely anecdotal, making it about as useful and applicable to other businesses as something you might overhear in your local pub.

But it turns out that I was wrong to dismiss this item so flippantly. The doyenne of Microsoftologists, Mary-Jo Foley, pointed out something very interesting about this TCO story:

The Speedy Hire case study is not new. It dates back to December 2007.

Now that *is* fascinating. Why on earth would a company not short of a few bob recycle a pretty boring and unconvincing “business impact article” as it was originally called?

Well, some clues can be obtained from perusing that original article more closely:

Microsoft Office 2003 had been used within the main business for several years but not in the company’s depots. Here the key technology tools were Linux and open-source office products—but there were some challenges with these tools. James Fleming, Infrastructure Manager at Speedy Hire, says: “The personal computers in the depots had come to the end of their natural life and needed replacing. They were running on Linux, with a compatible tailored e-mail system and open-source office products for word processing and communications between the main business and the depots.

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