According to an study by Arthur Andersen, an independent consulting firm, Microsoft's upcoming Windows 2000 operating system will reduce overall costs for corporations that take the plunge. And, the survey states, Windows 2000 is ready right now, in Beta 3 and release candidate forms, for realistic evaluation in production environments. Andersen says that corporations that consolidate its servers, workstations, and mobile users onto a single operating system will receive the most benefit.

Andersen's study, which took place over a five month period following the release of Windows 2000 Beta 3 in April, evaluates the return on investment (ROI) that corporations can expect from migrating to Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Professional from previous versions of Windows. Windows 2000 Server Beta 3 was compared to Windows NT Server 4.0, while Windows 2000 Professional Beta 3 was compared to Windows 98 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0.

"Customers today need to know much more than simply the features and benefits of a company’s latest offering; they need to understand its actual business justification before they commit to a thorough evaluation," said Deborah Willingham, the vice president of the Business and Enterprise Division at Microsoft. "We are very pleased with the findings of this study by Arthur Andersen, as it will help customers see not only the benefits of Windows 2000, but more importantly, it provides confirmation of the customer value inherent in Windows 2000, and the cost savings organizations can generate by evaluating the product today."

The study, which was conducted independently, though sponsored by Microsoft, came to several conclusions. First, Windows 2000 Professional features such as improved stability, reliability, Plug and Play, and remote features will far outweigh implementation costs for most companies. When Windows 2000 Professional and Server are implemented together, the costs are further reduced. Server features such as system file protection, automatic recovery, reduced number of reboots, Active Directory, new security and management tools, and other distributed services give Windows 2000 Server key advantages over Windows NT 4.0