A new Microsoft-funded IDC study claims that the introduction of Vista in Europe will lead to the creation of up to 50,000 jobs, as money flows forth from corporate coffers for Vista-associated costs. Undoubtedly, Microsoft will use the data from the study to help resolve its ongoing tensions with the EU. But even if we set aside our skepticism about the 50,000 number, is this even a good thing? Job creation isn't itself a measure of economic progress. In fact, it'd be much more impressive if the study said the introduction of Vista would make 50,000 existing jobs unnecessary, freeing that human capital up for higher value work. Really what Microsoft is saying with this study is that the introduction of Vista will be an increased burden on companies, forcing them to spend more in several different areas. In fact, as Vinnie Marchandani, a former Gartner analyst who's seen these new software introduction before, points out, upgrades are typically low ROI events. Of course, politicians love to talk about job creation, since that's what gets them elected, so who knows, some in the EU might be swayed by this report.
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