No, Microsoft, open source software really is cheaper, insists Munich

Nick Heath | ZDNet | February 7, 2013
Which is cheaper - using open source or Microsoft's software? The software giant and the city of Munich have come up with very different answers.

The city of Munich has hit back at Microsoft in a row over whether the city's plan to use open-source software is cheaper than using Microsoft's products. The city is currently migrating 13,000 computers from Windows NT 4 and Microsoft Office 97 to a custom build of Ubuntu and OpenOffice as part of its 'LiMux' project. A further 2,000 computers will stay on Windows but are being switched to OpenOffice. The move began in 2004 and will be completed in the autumn of this year.

Last year Munich released figures that it said demonstrated the project would save the authority more than €10m by sidestepping the need to license Windows 7 and newer versions of Microsoft Office, as well as associated hardware upgrades. In total the LiMux project would cost €23m, compared to the €34m the authority estimated it would have cost to stick with Windows and MS Office.

Munich's figures were challenged in a study produced by HP for Microsoft, which claimed the LiMux project would cost €60.6m, considerably more than claimed by the authority. In comparison, the report claimed, migrating to Windows XP and Microsoft Office would have cost only €17m. However the costs in the Microsoft/HP report are based on several flawed assumptions, said Stefan Hauf, head of the press office at the City of Munich...