- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.