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But Microsoft Says Commercial Software Cheaper

Last week, we discussed whether open source can support one of the tenets of capitalism: profit. One guru, Stuart Cohen, argued that the only way to make money on open source is to sell support -- but the software is so darn good, it doesn't need much support.

Meanwhile, IBM is arguing that its new open source desktop is just the ticket for this bad economy. Imagine my surprise when Microsoft publicized that one of its customers claims open source is the one that chews up precious support dollars. That's why Speedy Hire (the U.K. equivalent of Rent-a-Center), dumped open source and paid for Office, SQL Server and Dynamics AX instead. The company claims the move will save about a million-and-half dollars over the next half-decade.

The rationale is pretty compelling. Open source may be cheap, but the little things -- different UI elements and incompatibilities -- are what rack up so many help desk dollars. Make sense? If so (or if not), please reply to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on December 08, 2008


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