Microsoft: Linux isn’t cheaper
Yet another Linux isn’t cheaper story from Microsoft. I don’t get the focus on cost all of the time. To me cost is a small part of the story. The Linux/Microsoft debate needs to consider the following in this order, (client side):
- The application portfolio that needs to be delivered to the client device. In most enterprises there will be hundreds of client applications, many of these won’t be deliverable on Linux even using emulation.
- Whether you believe in Microsoft’s value proposition. Only Microsoft has the ‘integrated innovation’ value proposition that links client, office tools, infrastructure services and application services. If you buy into that value proposition then you are probably going to continue to use office and Windows. My view right now is that MS is doing a pretty poor job of telling us what that value proposition is in their next generation products, I think because they are still figuring out how to move forward when they are dragging such a legacy behind them
- Whether the user-base can be segmented. Its likely in every enterprise that some users will be best suited to Windows Portables, some Windows Desktops, some Linux and some thin client technologies or one sort or another. If the user-base can be easily segmented, and ideally if different types of users occupy different types of building real-estate and if enterprise wide applications can all be cost effectively delivered thin to all desktop types, then and only then, is it likely to be cost effective to segment the user-base in terms of client technology.
- Training, conversion and lost productivity. If your business would be impacted by small scale disruption across large numbers of people, (which is what you should expect for 3-6 months), then its probably not cost effective to change. However if like many businesses you believe that these small scale disruptions have no effect on your bottom line because they just consume time that would otherwise be frittered away browsing the web etc then this is probably not an important factor for you.
- What do your users use at home. Uniquely Microsoft has its users homes as a training ground. Many people play more at home ‘honing’ their productivity than they do formal training at work. Home use is useful, and changing their environment at work could cause resentment. Right now Linux is nowhere in the home market, although its growing its a long term trend and is unlikely to effect decisions in the next couple of years.
The decision on office suite, needs to be factored in here, and it is in point 2, however whilst linked different but similar criteria apply.