Microsoft Windows 2000 operating environments have as much as a 48 percent total cost-of-ownership advantage over competing products, analysts with Aberdeen Group have concluded in two newly released studies. One study focused on the small and medium-sized business segment of information technology users finds that businesses are seeing an immediate cost savings of 38 percent after upgrading to Windows 2000 from Windows NT 4.0.

The second study involving the medium and large enterprises segment presents results of interviews with users in the segment where UNIX and reduced instruction set computers are predominant.

The second study found that Windows-based Intel server platforms have "a clear cost advantage" over proprietary UNIX platforms, particularly in server platform acquisition and ongoing administrative costs, Boston-based Aberdeen says.

"Return on investment has become an increasingly important factor in a business IT purchasing decision and now ranks third among most IT buyers' priority lists," says Tom Manter, Aberdeen research director. "Businesses are inclined to focus more on understanding the cost of owning an IT solution over time, as compared to the cost of simply acquiring the technology."

The studies examined the six major cost categories of server hardware and operating system acquisition, initial server deployment, administrative support resources, ongoing internal staff training, periodic operating system update deployments and annual operating system support fees over a three-year period.

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