In association with heise online

23 January 2013, 10:32

Microsoft study: Linux migration cost Munich €60.7 million

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According to an unpublished study compiled by HP on behalf of Microsoft, the operational costs of Munich city administration's LiMux migrationGerman language link amounted to €60.7 million (approximately £51 million) over a period of ten years, while only €17 million (£14.2 million) would have been required if Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 had been used. "It's an internal study that aims at providing a sound line of argument with customers", explained Microsoft Germany's Thomas Langkabel in an interview with The H's associates at heise online.

Langkabel declined to break down the costs into individual positions. "Of course it includes licence fees," Langkabel corrected a reportGerman language link to the contrary released by Focus Money Online on Monday, adding that the study also considers costs incurred through "tuition, training, migration, templates, roll-out and deployment and the integration of subject-related procedures". "The study is reliable", said Langkabel.

He explains the relatively high cost for migrating Munich's city administration to Linux as follows: "The provision of the required subject-related procedures under Linux and OpenOffice is a major factor; there are others as well, but they are of less consequence." The long migration time and several Linux distribution changes on the LiMux clients also played a role, added the Langkabel.

According to the Microsoft representative, the study was commissioned after the project organisers said that migrating to Linux had saved more than €10 million (£8 million) in their response to a question by Munich city council's independent Free Voters (Freie Wähler) group in December 2012. This had raised questions for Microsoft on both sides of the Atlantic, he added.

According to a report by ITworld, Microsoft declined to provide the study to either the press or to officials of the City of Munich's municipal IT service IT@M. Karl-Heinz Schneider, head of the service, was quoted as saying "what I could gather from the press so far poses considerable doubt on the validity of the study". He also said that the study's assumption that no new software would have been necessary was wrong as the city was using mostly Windows NT at the time of the migration and Microsoft had declared its intention to drop support for that version of Windows.

Schneider also expressed doubts that comparing the costs for a Windows migration to the costs of a migration to a ten-year-old version of Linux was a fair assessment. Over the time of the LiMux project, its Linux client had gradually evolved and had been updated to now be more comparable to Windows 7, rather than Windows XP as the study seems to suggest. It appears unlikely that the City of Munich would have stayed with Windows XP over a seven-year time period without the need for an upgrade either.


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