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MS Won't Release Study Disputing Munich's Linux-Switch Savings 268

Posted by timothy
from the what-and-give-away-the-recipe dept.
itwbennett writes "As previously reported on Slashdot, in November of last year, the city of Munich reported savings of over €10 million from its switch to Linux. Microsoft subsequently commissioned a study (conducted by HP) that found that, in fact, 'Munich would have saved €43.7 million if it had stuck with Microsoft.' Now, Microsoft has said it won't release the study, saying that '[it] was commissioned by Microsoft to HP Consulting for internal purposes only.'"
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MS Won't Release Study Disputing Munich's Linux-Switch Savings

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  • show us (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sadsfae (242195) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:38PM (#42659471)

    Show us your cards, it doesn't matter now Mr. Ballmer.

    • Re:show us (Score:5, Funny)

      by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:09PM (#42659803)

      MSFT's internal study predicted that Munich would have saved so much because everyone would have been too busy dancing with their tablets to perform any governance or spend any money.

      • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:00PM (#42660301)

        "Now is the time on Surface when we dance!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Would you like to touch my Ballmer?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Show us your cards, it doesn't matter now Mr. Ballmer.

      What, and show you all the spots they've put on them? That kind of ink isn't cheap, you know!

    • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:15PM (#42660483) Journal
      It totally makes sense for MS to NOT show it. This study is for MS's sale's ppl to go into companies with and make these wild claims. Look at what happened when it was found out what patents were being used for going after the android companies. They were all jokes. The problem is that almost all of MS's studies in the past have been proven wrong.
      As such, it is a certainty that this 'study' is more of the same and would be shown to be so. That would be very difficult for MS's sales ppl to counter.
      • That doesn't make it right that they can go around spouting lies.
        • by jc42 (318812)

          That doesn't make it right that they can go around spouting marketing facts.

          FTFY. ;-)

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Consider the logic. The original study showed a saving in switching from windows and office to linux and open source software, rather than sticking with windows and office. Now M$ have an alternate study which shows they would have saved four time as much in switching from windows and office to 'er' windows and office rather than 'er', sticking with windows and office. Hey, wait up a second, something here doesn't make any sense at all.

    • Re:show us (Score:5, Funny)

      by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:51PM (#42661749) Homepage

      Munich: The first 6 digits of PI are 3.14159
      MS: No, it's 123456. Honest, we've done a study and all.
      Munich: Oh, great, can you show us?
      MS: No, it's for internal purposes only. But trust us, it's 123456 allright.

  • Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:40PM (#42659497)

    '[it] was commissioned by Microsoft to HP Consulting for internal purposes only.'

    Which of course is why they publicly claimed the 43.7M Euro figure.

    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:48PM (#42659587) Homepage

      Switch from Microsoft to Microsoft and save $43.7 million?

      I can understand "switch from stupid choice of products to better choices of products" though. And I don't find it unlikely that they had a lot of stupid choices there.

      Another interesting option is if the switch to Linux saves money and then switching to Microsoft saves even more and then you can just continue switching, imagine the savings! Personally I have a hard time imagine you save money by switching back and forth though =P

    • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:06PM (#42659773)

      Sounds like Micro-Soft doesn't want the public picking apart the flawed assumptions and conclusions of their 'study'.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:09PM (#42660445) Journal

      That's how much they would have saved in discounts. It would have cost them a hell of a lot more, but the savings were there.

    • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:01PM (#42661075)

      '[it] was commissioned by Microsoft to HP Consulting for internal purposes only.'

      Which of course is why they publicly claimed the 43.7M Euro figure.

      Which brings up a sort of interesting point.... The EU has some rather strict laws regarding the "truthiness" of advertising. Does the public claim of massive savings equate to an advertisement for Microsoft? And if so, shouldn't the report be required to be publicly released to support such an advertisement? (Even if the methods and subsequent conclusions are ridiculed.)

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:41PM (#42659503)

    Why would anyone ever release a bullshit FUD report?

    If they release it someone could criticize it, if not they can keep making claims you can't refute.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:15PM (#42659859) Homepage Journal

      Why would anyone ever release a bullshit FUD report?

      If they release it someone could criticize it, if not they can keep making claims you can't refute.

      Meanwhile, reports from the 1950's showed certain cigarettes didn't cause significant throat irritation. In other studies doctors recommended certain brands of cigarettes.

      I guess it's just a matter of finding the right people to .. uh .. doctor your results.

    • by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:20PM (#42659919)

      Exactly their point. It's all about protecting the FUD at this point.

      Normally, MS releases reports about running MS being cheaper because of Admin costs being lower. They never mention the requirement for running Anti-virus/Anti-Malware, and in fact most of their studies never even show their own licensing fees. Usually they include the client license fees for connecting to servers, but tend to forget the much higher priced licenses on workstations.

      MS office is cheaper than Libre office because of.. what exactly? The rate for re-writing macros is more expensive than a few hundred dollars (depending on your license deal) per user running MS products every year forever according to their logic. And yes, according to their logic you will be rewriting macros forever too!

      Logic does not fit in their reports, which is why they continually spend more money on advertising and fake reports than they do on product development. They hide behind 3rd party companies paid to give benchmark results favoring their products.

      The reason they still do as much business as they do is fitting with today's business logic. People get huge discounts and kickbacks to keep running MS products. If a shop moved to Linux, they would not receive the same kickbacks and discounts. Even if the overall cost is way more, you can't show bullshit savings to stock holders without those.

      • by PRMan (959735) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:31PM (#42660031)
        You'd be amazed. I was at a company where we paid 90% of what we would have paid for Microsoft licenses for Linux "support". It turns out that we NEVER called Microsoft or Linux anyway, so why bother spending hundreds of thousands on support anyway?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by timmyf2371 (586051)

        MS office is cheaper than Libre office because of.. what exactly? The rate for re-writing macros is more expensive than a few hundred dollars (depending on your license deal) per user running MS products every year forever according to their logic. And yes, according to their logic you will be rewriting macros forever too!

        I'd assume the logic is more to do with retraining costs for every head that uses MS Office. Libre/OpenOffice may look very similar to a 10 year old version of MS Office, but office uses like their familiarity and learned shortcuts - even if there is a quicker or easier way of doing something.

        And that's before you consider the retraining costs for all new starters, who will more than likely be familiar with MS Office. And the retraining costs for your tech support who will have to support users through a p

        • by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:52PM (#42660233)

          Our company uses MS office. I am a good programmer and a fairly competent computer user. I absolutely hate MS office. The other day I could not delete an embedded picture without deleting the one right below it, even though they were independently selectable. How irritating.

          I am not saying libre office is better. I am saying it can't be much worse.

        • Is all that really worth it to save a few hundred bucks per seat?

          Depends - you;re counting immediate costs, not long-term.

          When you consider the amount of retraining needed for each new version of MS Office to come out the pipe nowadays (starting with the stupid ribbon and going downhill from there), even with folks who are already mega-power-users on the thing? When you consider the never-ending EA agreement cycle (and that's the cheap way to do it when we talk these numbers)? When you consider that it takes fewer sysadmins to produce/maintain higher numbers of Linux ser

      • by dbIII (701233)

        And yes, according to their logic you will be rewriting macros forever too!

        Back when I was writing MS Excel and MS Access macros I did seem to be writing macros forever because the syntax kept changing a lot with each new version so in some cases nearly every single line had to be changed. To get an idea of how drastic - they both had their own things, then started using VB, which started off as BASIC, morphed into something like PASCAL and now VB is pretty much a low rent ripoff of java.

    • by ftldelay (856655) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:56PM (#42660265) Homepage
      Unwillingness to release it is a sure sign they've got something to hide IMO. If it's true, than what would they be afraid of? Surely it would hold up to scrutiny, right?
      • The claimed savings are just a teaser to get potential customers to ask about it. They don't want everybody scrutinizing their price list, they want to walk potential customers through it in private.
    • Why would anyone ever release a bullshit FUD report?

      If they release it someone could criticize it, if not they can keep making claims you can't refute.

      I can actually answer this. I am not going to go into details, but I have some inside knowledge. Sometimes these kinds of things are done simply to suck up to Microsoft and try to get more business from them. Of course you are asking why would Microsoft release such a report, which is a different question.

  • Pricing... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pebbert (624675) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:42PM (#42659517)
    Probably contains pricing information that they don't want anyone to see. If they disclosed it everyone would want those prices.
    • Re:Pricing... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:44PM (#42659543)

      You mean made up pricing?
      They could easily release enough to quiet the masses and not give away that level of detail.

      If they are cutting Munich a one time special deal that would be even more they don't want to release. Save $40 million now! Pay $80 million next year.

      • Re:Pricing... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@@@nexusuk...org> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:50PM (#42659605) Homepage

        You mean made up pricing?

        I presume the "special" pricing you get if you're a large organisation and say to MS, "we're going to switch to linux to save money and then talk to the press about it"

        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          More like, special pricing you get when you are trying to produce a report that is supposed to show how cheap it is to keep using Microsoft software.
          Microsoft can just quote arbitrary numbers and claim that someone, somewhere, could get them if they didn't use something else.

      • I think it means "last ditch effort to save a customer" pricing

      • Re:Pricing... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:14PM (#42661237)

        >"If they are cutting Munich a one time special deal that would be even more they don't want to release. Save $40 million now! Pay $80 million next year."

        And if the Linux option didn't exist, no such super-special pricing would be available in the first place.

        So even if they didn't switch to Linux, Linux *STILL* saved them millions of dollars....

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Of course, guaranteed. Why? I'd bet you an infinite amount of money that it in some way completely skips the training costs and licensing costs of windows vs linux's nearly instant transition.

  • by SoothingMist (1517119) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:42PM (#42659521)
    I recall an article from a few years ago that presented an interview with a corporate CIO here in the States. He claimed that Linux itself was actually more expensive for his company in terms of paid support from the company providing the enterprise version they used. However, the overall operational cost was much smaller because fewer sys admins were needed to operate and manage the various node clusters required by their distributed organization.
    • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:54PM (#42659647) Homepage

      I'm not surprised.

      Of course, there's nothing preventing the company from using commercially-supported distributions (like Red Hat) on critical systems if they really need the support and clones (like CentOS) on other systems.

  • by NynexNinja (379583) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:44PM (#42659551)
    They all will claim that paying millions of dollars on Microsoft royalties and licensing fees is always better than paying zero dollars for a Linux deployment. They will always state that Microsoft products somehow have a lower TCO than Linux. The claim they make is that it costs more to hire Linux engineers than Windows engineers, which is a bunch of nonsense.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:47PM (#42659581) Journal
    Microsoft can't release the study. It has deep proprietary data about how much they would have reduced the price once they learned City of Munich is going Linux.
    • by oneiros27 (46144)

      My guess is that it has some information about how they could've saved money through other means (eg, not buying licenses for software for people who don't need it, etc.) ... which if other groups actually did, would cut into their profits.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:52PM (#42659617)
    the report is meant to give the die hard microsofties something to believe in.

    Although it won't stand up to scrunity by the outside world it doesn't have to. It will keep the faithful, faithful
  • Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:53PM (#42659627) Journal
    Maybe the year of Linux on the desktop is coming after all. Slowly, but eventually.
  • I have an excerpt from the report's abstract:

    "For the purpose of this study, Microsoft assumes Munich will be installing Fedora 18..."

  • by killmenow (184444) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:56PM (#42659657)
    I commissioned my own study that says Microsoft is full of shit. I'm not releasing the study itself or the details of our methodology. But trust me on this, it's true.
  • by aglider (2435074) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:56PM (#42659665) Homepage
    That's clearly an excuse!
    At the best the study is not fake. HP just fooled MS around and they don't want everyone to know.
    At the worse, the claims by MS are false, the study is fake and they just got uncovered!
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:00PM (#42659709)

    Went something like this:

    Dear Bill/Steve,
    We have spent 6 months evaluating Linux in the Munich offices and have found the following issues:

    1) IE is not installed so many of compatibility webpages you wanted us to evaluate did not work correctly.

    2) The accounts which were created in Active Directory to allow for LDAP logins in Linux have a schema different from the documentation you provided and did not work correctly.

    3) The Excel spreadsheets saved in the Open Document Format were not compatible with LibreOffice's Open Document Format and did not display all sheets corrrecly. Apparently the format is different than what was specificed in the standard you provided.

    4) The Macro virus attached to the Excel spreadsheet *did* execute correctly and damaged one of the exported NTFS filesystems on the SAMBA server.

    In closing, for the 6 months of screwing around trying to get your proprietary solutions to play nicely via the advertised specifications we've found none of them worked as advertised (except for fore-mentioned virus) and are billing you €40.7 million for our lead times and €3.7 million to cover anger management therapy for our support personnel.

    Yours truly,
    Meg W.

  • Newsflash (Score:5, Funny)

    by vinn (4370) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:08PM (#42659785) Homepage Journal

    Newsflash: sponsored study shows results that favor sponsor. Truly shocking.

  • Wait a minute (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pswPhD (1528411) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:08PM (#42659787) Homepage

    From the article

    Operating the Microsoft software (not including licensing fees) would cost [EUR]17 million, while the alternative will amount to almost [EUR]61 million

    (emphasis mine)

    Of course if you exclude the cost of buying (sorry- licensing) the software it is cheaper!

  • well.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:09PM (#42659805)

    they tried to advertise Windows and .NET with one of their "studies" years ago when the London Stock Exchange started using their products for it's trading system and they even made a nice video about it:

    Get the Facts: The London Stock Exchange
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwSM55bsCrM [youtube.com]

    but it looks like it didn't turn out that well..

    London Stock Exchange to abandon failed Windows platform
    http://blogs.computerworld.com/london_stock_exchange_to_abandon_failed_windows_platform [computerworld.com]

    London Stock Exchange dumps Windows for Linux
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/high_performance/2009100702835NWDPSV [linuxtoday.com]

    The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/the-london-stock-exchange-moves-to-novell-linux/8285 [zdnet.com]

    maybe they learned their lesson now

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      You forgot to link to the stories about the catastrophic failures and day long outages the london stock exchange suffered while they were running a windows based system...

  • by guspasho (941623) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:18PM (#42659897)

    So were they just trying to make themselves feel better?

  • MS may not have been telling a lie, just not the full truth. This is just clever phrasing by MS marketing. If Munich decides to go back to MS products then it will cost them 43.7 million Euros. By that logic (as faulted as it is) it is true that they could have saved that amount by staying with MS products.
  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:28PM (#42660005)

    Romulan Senator Vreenak [memory-alpha.org] said it best:

    It's a faaaaake!

  • I commissioned a study which proves that Microsoft beats 200 puppies with a spiked club every Tuesday and Friday.

    Sorry, I cannot show the study; it's for internal use only. You just have to take my word for it.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:35PM (#42660067) Journal
    From TFA:

    If Munich had stayed with Windows XP combined with Office 2003 instead of choosing Linux combined with OpenOffice.org, it would have saved money, the study apparently claimed.

    ....

    The city's own calculations did not consider all migration costs, according to the report. It apparently claimed that Munich compared the migration to a 10-year-old Linux version with a migration to a newer version of Windows, probably Windows 7, and said that if the city had stuck with Windows, no new software would have been necessary.

    Please tell me, oh wise ones in Microsoft and HP how Munich could stay with XP, given that it is rapidly reaching EOL and support for newer hardware is likely to be problematic?

    • It looks to me like Munich is only the tip of the ice berg.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Which is why this whole thing is stupid. Switching to Linux+OpenOffice is more expensive than keeping with the status quo and updating nothing. However, eventually they will have to upgrade to a new version of Windows and a new version of Office. They probably wouldn't realize savings until 5-10 years down the road. But that's the way the world works. Almost nobody, in government or the private sector is interested in making long term savings. It's all about making yourself look good for the current polit
  • The savings probably would've come from not having Microsoft billing them for the $43 million it cost to hire HP to do the study...

  • What does Microsoft do? "Promote" people who design clunkers like Windows Millennium and Vista into their PR department?
    • What does Microsoft do? "Promote" people who design clunkers like Windows Millennium and Vista into their PR department?

      Design? Design, you say? It's clear that all versions of Windows with funny names were "designed" by Marketing, not Engineering. That is, the people who were in control of the release, were not the people who should have been in control of the release.

      The two divisions in any company will have radically different interpretations of the word "Quality". If you talk to a Marketeer, "Quality" means "cleverly named feature set". If you talk to an Engineer, "Quality" means that things work as intended.

      Think

  • I'm shocked at how many people here are saying bad things about Microsoft. Shocked.
  • ...really. But at this moment, I can't think of any two commercial IT companies I trust less than HP and Microsoft. By a slim margin perhaps, but nevertheless.

  • by bobbied (2522392) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:12PM (#42660463)
    But liars figure....
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:15PM (#42660489)
    I commissioned a study "for internal purposes only" that proves that day is night and that night is day and that all astronomers have been totally wrong to this point. But after spending millions making sure that the press prints summaries of my study I will not be releasing the study to analysis (and ridicule).

    Microsoft full well knows that at this point the whole Microsoft vs Linux you must appeal to the faithful of their religion who will studiously ignore the ravings of the pagans and will hang on to every word coming from Mt. Olympus in Seattle. So microsoft doesn't need to publish this study. Its mere existence is enough for the embedded (and often well microsoft certified) IT staff in any organization to counter the 10 Million dollar savings. This 43 million savings not only is much better but will work well when a meta study is done and totals up the averages. So even if 3 other studies confirm the 10 million in Linux savings the average will still accrue to Microsoft.

    Personally my experience is that Linux can be a great replacement for most but not all day to day systems. With most corporate software solutions going web it really doesn't matter which platform you are browsing from. Most employees of large organizations are shockingly unsophisticated users of the software so will rarely even notice the difference. Where you often run into problems are when legacy windows based software must be installed on many systems such as some kind of timesheet software. But a linux switch often works well as long as you let those who need Windows continue to use windows (say the accountants because they are extreme power users of Excel.) But there are other huge savings to be had by tossing Microsoft. In an all open source system licensing is really really easy. Then there is the fact that Linux can be so undemanding on the desktops that you can cut way back on system upgrades.

    But there can be weird costs such as printer X that might not play well with Linux. That can offset some of the lesser hardware savings. You can be suddenly restricted to not being able to deploy certain windows only solutions.

    The key to succeeding that I have seen is to start small. You take a small typical department and start switching the machines over to Linux and see what happens.

    The key to failure is to let a small group of senior IT people with Microsoft certifications up the wazoo bring in MS sales people to help them thwart the effort. You can tell when this is happening when suddenly random senior management start protesting the potential switch to Linux armed with bundles of studies proving that the organization will be cursed with locusts if so much as one machine is converted to Linux. These will be people who were asking for an Apple laptop the week before.
  • We all know that every time a nation or large company threatens to go open source, Microsoft sends its army of sales people with large expense budgets to offer 'better deals' to persuade them against moving away. These types of deals, of course mean better pricing and/or other terms along with lots of wining, dining, bonuses, gifts and kickbacks. It is quite likely their study includes these deep discounts which everyone would demand if this type of information was made available.

    I know that in general, c

  • They have no desire to show the world just how severely you must torture logic and how much fudge you have to use to make FOSS look more expensive than MS.

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:01AM (#42667777) Journal

    - Manti Te'o, Microsoft Spokesman

The cost of feathers has risen, even down is up!

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