Re: Computer Economics Was: Re: Illth

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Computer Economics Was: Re: Illth
Date: 8 Aug 1999 23:19:25 -0000

David Lloyd-Jones writes:
> Yes, but the PC techs are mostly on Microsoft's staff. You don't need to be a
> guru to install and run an NT/BackOffice net. It practically runs itself. A
> Linux-based corporate intranet, by contrast, needs highly paid specialists --
> just like in the big iron olden days.
> > The total cost of ownership of such systems NEED
> > NOT BE SO HIGH, and it is the Windows OS inadaquacy and close
> > coupling between the very good Applications and the inadequate OS which
> > makes that cost so high.
> Evidence, please?

The book "The Squandered Computer," Paul A. Strassmann, The
Information Economics Press, New Canaan, Connecticut, 1997, ISBN
0-9620413-1-9, is a non-biased POV by the chairman of the committee on
information workers for the White House conference on productivity.

The book is a bit cynical, IMHO, but does discuss the complexity of
the issues, (for example, it is not cost-of-ownership alone, but how
much productivity is enhanced by the cost; kind of an ROI scenario,
that matters. He, also, goes into what productivity means and how
access to information may enhance productivity, but the productivity
improvement may be difficult to measure. For example, management
mistakes may be lower do to informatics, but that may be difficult to
measure by traditional productivity metrics, like units per hour off
an assembly line.)

For numerical data, search edupage,
(,) circa 1997/8, for
the studies. There were three large scale studies, one by the USG, and
the other two from academia.


BTW, Strassman claims we have fundamental problems-the
cost-of-ownership is too high for what we get, irregardless of whether
it is PC, commercial Unix, or open source, (although he argues in
favor of open source.) The three studies tend to agree that the cost
of ownership of a PC seat is about $2500-3K per year, and is higher
than for a Unix seat, by about 2X. However, if you look at the IT
budget in a large company, it is probably not significant. The cost of
the Melissa virus, (et al,) to the US, which were PC centric, was in
the several 10's of billions of bucks in the first half of this year,
with about a 60% chance of a PC that has access to the Internet being
infected this year-about doubling the CoO over the cost of the
software on virii alone. Re:


John Conover,,

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