Study: Windows Cheaper Than Linux for App Development

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-09-09 Print this article Print

A Microsoft-sponsored study conducted by Forrester Research found Microsoft offers a cost advantage over J2EE/Linux as a development platform for certain portal-type applications.

A new research study conducted by Forrester Researchs Giga Information Group unit and commissioned and paid for by Microsoft Corp. has found that Microsoft offers a cost advantage over J2EE/Linux as a development platform for certain portal-type applications. Microsoft in May commissioned Giga to undertake a research project to provide a Total Economic Impact (TEI) business case comparison for developing and deploying custom business applications on Windows and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition)/Linux platforms.
Giga was asked to examine the relative benefits of Linux and Windows by comparing the costs incurred and benefits achieved by two sets of organizations: those using Linux as the basis for their applications and those using Microsoft Windows.
Giga, not Microsoft, also decided which applications would be considered in the study, research analyst John Rymer told eWEEK in an interview on Monday. The comparison of the two platforms shows medium-size to large organizations that develop, deploy, support and maintain custom applications on the Microsoft .Net platform can expect to experience 25 percent to 28 percent less cost during a four-year life cycle than if the J2EE/Linux platform was used, Rymer said. The report, titled "The total economic impact of developing and deploying applications on Microsoft and J2EE/Linux platforms," was conducted by Rymer and senior consulting adviser Bob Cormier. The full report is available here. The study employed Gigas TEI methodology, which measures the costs that are typically accounted for by IT as well as benefits, risks and flexibility. The study used TEI as a common business language to capture and communicate the financial and non-financial aspects of developing, deploying and supporting applications using the Microsoft and J2EE/Linux platforms, Rymer said. The report also analyzes the costs of developing, deploying, maintaining and supporting custom business applications for medium and large-size organizations. The findings in the study are based on interviews conducted with seven organizations currently using the Microsoft .Net platform to develop and deploy custom applications within their enterprises and five organizations currently using J2EE/Linux. These organizations provided Giga with significant details on their actual costs, selection criteria and business goals in constructing applications. The report extrapolates from these user experiences to create two composite organizations that are developing and deploying custom applications using either J2EE/Linux or the Microsoft platform. Next page: Why Giga Chose J2EE.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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