The launch of Windows Vista next year will be directly responsible for creating more than 50,000 IT jobs in six large European countries, and will lead to a flood of economic benefits for European companies, according to a Microsoft-funded IDC study released on Thursday.
The white paper, The Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Vista, emphasised that while Vista will earn Microsoft a great deal of money, far more will be generated by European companies within the Microsoft "ecosystem".
"(Microsoft) is an economic force that has a direct, positive impact on the countries in which it operates," wrote IDC's John Gantz, Al Gillen and Marcel Warmerdam in the study. "If you add up all the spending on hardware and software that runs on Microsoft operating systems, as well as all the services around installing and maintaining Microsoft applications and solutions, you quickly come up with a number much bigger than Microsoft's revenues."
In the six-country region studies, more than 150,000 IT companies will produce, sell or distribute products or services running on Windows Vista in 2007, employing 400,000 people, IDC said. Another 650,000 will be employed in the IT departments of firms relying on Vista.
The study covers Germany, the UK, France, Denmark, Poland and Spain, which collectively account for more than 65 percent of IT spending in the European economic zone (the EU plus Croatia, Norway and Switzerland).
"Because the six countries in this study represent almost 67 percent of IT spending by countries in the European Union economic zone, they are quite representative of Europe as a whole and, for that matter, much of the developed world," wrote Gantz, Gillen and Warmerdam. A key finding is that Vista will not just sustain the existing Windows economy, but create thousands of new jobs. IDC established a baseline for economic growth due to existing versions of Windows and determined that Windows-related employment would jump by 100,000 jobs in 2007.
"IDC believes that more than half of the gain in Windows-related employment will be specifically related to Windows Vista. It is growth that IDC believes would not occur were Windows Vista not in the market," Gantz, Gillen and Warmerdam said in the study. "Windows Vista... will infuse significant new energy into the market in its first 12 months of shipment, driving important job growth and new industry revenues."
In recent years, Microsoft has funded a number of studies highlighting the positive side of its near-monopoly in the market for desktop operating systems (it faces significant competition on servers, notably from Linux). The studies have appeared as Microsoft has faced antitrust actions in the US, the EU and elsewhere, with regulator attention most recently beginning to focus on Windows Vista ahead of its scheduled January launch.
Microsoft has also faced growing movements from some national and regional governments to promote or require open source alternatives to Windows. One of the arguments governments have used in favour of open source is that it can foster a locally based software economy.