Computing TCO and TPU

Jeremy Zawodny writes about the TCO of computers:

TCO or “Total Cost of Ownership” is a notion that one can calculate (with some accuracy) the complete cost of owning something, including all the weird side effects of acquiring and owning that thing.

For example, I can by a new 3.2GHz notebook for $2,000 and it comes with Windows XP. But odds are that I’ll spend 20 hours in the first year dealing with device drivers, spyware, and viruses. If I value my time at $50/hour, then the total cost of owning that notebook for the first year is actually $3,000.

Then I’d take that number and compare it to the Powerbook I was thinking of getting. It’ll cost me $2,600 and have a “slower” CPU, but I’ll only spend 2 hours screwing around with it in the first year figuring out why my scanner doesn’t work when I plug it in. That puts the total cost of the Powerbook at $2,700 in the first year.

We need a way to quantify the negative effect that these decisions often have on the day to day folks (who’d rather be left alone to get their jobs done). The pain they endure. The countless hours spent fighting with a technological choice that was clearly not optimal. The effort required to work around product glitches or to bring in a replacement “under the radar” and keep it there.

I think this should be the TPU or Total Pain of Using.

This is why I believe the future is going to be about server-centric computing and clients: it is about affordability and manageability.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.