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Study: Linux and Windows Costs Equal?

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Marking what could have been a summer-long hiatus in its "Get the Facts" campaign, Microsoft is re-igniting the flames on the argument over whether enterprises spend less to manage Windows systems than Linux systems.

This morning, the company touted a study it commissioned from independent analyst Mercer Management Consulting, which made the case that companies that implement migration programs away from UNIX systems based on the need to adopt new applications -- what Mercer calls "transformational migrations" -- now tend to choose Windows over Linux.

The reason for this choice, the Mercer paper contends, is that IT managers have given considerable thought to recent IDC numbers -- which the Mercer paper cited -- stating Windows has a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for businesses than Linux. Mercer did not conduct its own TCO study, but instead studied UNIX migration programs from 30 of its clients.

One of the paper's key claims is that businesses that choose Linux over Windows for their UNIX migrations tend to be less rigorous in how they ascertain potential TCO savings.

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