Microsoft to DHBs: we're cheaper in the long run

Free is just another word for higher TCO

Microsoft NZ believes the District Health Boards open source pilot could be "short-sighted".

“It is important to remember that the cost of software does not end with its acquisition," says strategy manager Brett Roberts.

Last week health board CIOs said they wanted to pay lower software licensing fees to Microsoft, estimated at more than $20 million over three years, and would trial an open source desktop with Suse Linux and OpenOffice.org. The CIOs also demanded stronger representation on the public sector committee negotiating the details of G2006, the next iteration of the New Zealand Government’s bulk licensing agreement with Microsoft.

Roberts is unimpressed by the suggestion from DHB CIOs that using open source software such as Linux and OpenOffice.org will lead to savings for the taxpayer.

“Customers need to seriously consider the total cost of owning technology if they are to make value-based decisions beyond just the acquisition cost," he says.

“Independent research has found that the overall cost of ownership is, in fact, 15% to 20% lower using Microsoft technology and that the cost of acquiring software licenses makes up less than 10% of the total system ownership cost over time.

“Many of our customers have already evaluated alternatives and the majority have opted to continue using Microsoft technology,” says Roberts.

"We have customers who have switched to open source alternatives, only to switch back to Windows again after running into support, cost and integration issues.”

The DHB decision has naturally encouraged Novell, whose software is a replacement candidate.

”In terms of all government departments we can add significant value to the desktop at as little as a third the cost of a Microsoft desktop,” says Novell's government sector strategic manager, David Currie.

And when the client has enough confidence in Novell's desktop, Novell can provide open source solutions “all the way back to the server”, adds Currie.

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Tags licensinghealth

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