Microsoft touts cost savings of Vista over XP

Study finds running new OS saves US$605 yearly over Windows XP on mobile PCs

On Wednesday, Microsoft released details of a study it commissioned that found that total cost of ownership for Windows Vista on mobile PCs is US$605 (AU$736) less annually than Windows XP.

According to research conducted by Wipro and GCR Custom Research, total cost of ownership for Windows XP is US$4,407 annually, while Vista's cost is US$3,802. The US$4,407 figure was derived from costs of hardware, software, IT labor, and user costs. Mobile PCs were the focus because these units will outship desktop systems by 2010, said Hiroshi Sakakibara, product manager for Windows Product Management at Microsoft.

Peculiarly, the study actually was based on XP usage and extrapolations based on Vista capabilities because there was not a substantial base of Vista clients in use yet when the study was done early in 2007. Now, the installed base of Vista is 60 million PCs, Microsoft said.

GCR and Wipro calculated that the Vista upgrade itself saves US$251 per year. These benefits include enhancements in security, desktop engineering, service desk requirements, user labor, and hardware and software benefits. Among the improvements noted were in such areas as network diagnostics, backup and restore, self-healing functions, and implementation of security policies.

Deploying best practices through Microsoft's Infrastructure Optimization model adds another US$236 in Vista savings, while utilizing the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) saves US$118 per PC. MDOP features Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization and the Microsoft Asset Inventory Service, while Infrastructure Optimization covers best practices, such as controlling PC configurations. MDOP is available as part of Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing program.

Reducing vulnerabilities and utilizing security policies presents savings, noted Bill Barna, principal consultant at Wipro. Security savings alone were estimated at US$55. "If you can reduce the number of core vulnerabilities, you can basically have the savings flow throughout the entire security model," Barna said.

The survey featured 541 phones calls to users at 131 XP user organizations; one IT decision-maker and three end-users were polled at each user site.

While Microsoft is promoting Vista upgrades, a Free Software Foundation project called "BadVista," is pushing free software as an alternative.

"We describe it as a campaign definitely against Vista but chiefly to promote free software over Vista," said John Sullivan, a campaign manager at the foundation.

Users should replace "proprietary" systems with a free system like GNU-Linux, Sullivan said.

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