October 04, 2006, 3:02 PM — Strange times indeed when the stock market analysts hope a new Microsoft operating system will counteract the declining housing market, but that's the hope of some for next fall. If your company plans to play the Vista game, start cooking your books now.
I estimate each Vista user will cost your company between $3,250 and $5,000. That's each and every Vista user. Money will go to Microsoft for Vista and Office 2007, to hardware vendors for new PCs and components, and possibly a few bucks to Apple for those users jumping to a Mac. After all, if Apple's higher cost has been the factor keeping your company from trying a Mac, that factor just washed away.
Why $3,250-$5,000? Here's my calculation. Feel free to tell me what your company has budgeted, and whether you believe your own numbers.
New PCs will cost $1,500-$2,000. Darn few existing corporate PCs will have the video horsepower needed to run Aero, Vista's primary upgrade inducement. You need 256MB of video RAM to run Aero properly, no matter what Microsoft's marketing says. I don't know of any motherboard-based video chip sets that include 256MB of RAM. Upgrade? While in the PC, add memory: Vista needs a minimum of 1GB of RAM. The hardware cost of the RAM may be less than your labor costs getting that installed in every PC. If your existing PCs can take full advantage of Vista, I'm happy for you. I don't believe you, but I hope your upgrade goes well.
Depending on your volume purchasing agreements, new copies of Vista and Office will total between $750 and $1,000. After all, your company always buys the "professional" packages, right? And they have to be installed, right? If you're getting a much cheaper quote on both packages installed and tested, let me know.
The real value of Vista and Office 2007 includes new collaboration services. This means new back end servers. Most estimates place the back end support cost at $2,000 per user, but I used a range of $1,000-$2,000 for my calculations. Why get Office 2007 if not new SharePoint and Exchange servers? Can you run both on one box? Didn't think so.
Document your objections now, because next year the vice presidents will blame IT for their busted budget. But the housing market appreciates you taking up the slack.