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I recently read a very insightful article on 7 factors every company should seriously consider about Microsoft Windows, here they are summarised:

  1. Licensing Costs

    Everyone in the IT industry today knows that proprietary operating systems and the applications that run on them will cost you a lot of money on licensing fees. According to a recent Forrester study, U.S. companies overall are expected to spend $100 billion on software maintenance in 2007.

  2. Hardware Costs

    “You need to throw lots of hardware at it,” says Central Desktop founder Arnulf Hsu about Windows. The minimum hardware requirements for Server 2003 call for a Pentium III 550MHz, 512MB of RAM, and at least a 3GB hard drive. Linux, on the other hand, can go on an old Pentium II with only 64MB of RAM and 1GB of hard drive space.

  3. Inefficient Security Control

    It’s going to take more labor to keep a Windows system secure. Virus makers and crackers target Windows systems because it is easier to break into.

  4. Heavy Vendor Influence

    Because so many corporations have a company policy that specifies “Microsoft-only,” it discourages independent thinking and technological savvy; many end up simply relying on the sales guy to tell them what applications they need.

  5. Inefficient use of Manpower

    While it is true that it is relatively easy to find Windows-skilled IT admins, it’s still not exactly cheap. Though many Unix-based admins are more expensive, it takes fewer of them to maintain more servers, which saves money in the long run.

  6. Feature Lock-in

    Proprietary systems like Windows are not easily customizable. Companies that need the flexibility to drop in or remove features on an as-needed basis find themselves either paying for unneeded feature bloat, starving for the features they do need because commercial vendors rarely are willing to drop everything to accommodate a one-off request

  7. Forced Upgrade Path

    With Microsoft, you’re on a forced upgrade path. Once it drops support on your version of Windows, you’re out of luck when it comes to fixing those above mentioned security holes-if you can even continue to use that version.

Thefull article on CIO is here, and is a very interesting read (it expands on the points I quoted above). No person in a company responsible for IT should go without reading this, especially if your are a “Microsoft-Only” shop.