Microsoft today unveiled the results of a recent study in which its Internet Explorer 9 web browser is shown to provide compelling financial benefits over previous IE versions. The study, which was commissioned by Microsoft and performed by Forrester, examines the economic impact of deploying IE 9 at a composite organization--culled from several Microsoft TAP (technology adoption program) customers--with 50,000 desktops.

The study, called The Total Economic Impact Of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, provides some interesting results. Moving from IE 8 to IE 9 results in over $5 million in benefits, a cost of $1.7 million, and a net value of $3.3 million. The cost payback time is 15 months.

"The data collected in this study indicates that migrating from Internet Explorer 8 to Internet Explorer 9 has the potential to provide significant quantifiable benefits and positive net benefit after [the second year]," the report notes. Forrester will discuss the results in an August 16, 2011 webinar. (You can sign-up for that now.)

Microsoft discusses the study in two separate blog posts.

On the Exploring IE blog, Microsoft director Roger Capriotti notes:

Part of the great value of IE9 comes from the operating system it was designed to run on – Windows 7.  From its seamless integration with the Windows 7 user interface to its ability to tap into hardware acceleration and modern PC hardware through Windows, IE9 and Windows 7 together are a compelling offering to Windows business customers.  These customers understand the value of Windows 7.  And, Windows 7 continues its strong adoption with over 400 million licenses sold.  It is now estimated that worldwide over 27% of all internet browsing is from Windows 7 machines.

As IT departments adopt Windows 7, we encourage them to deploy Internet Explorer 9 as well, because this is the best browser for the Windows operating system.  We’ve heard from some of the companies that have already moved to IE9 that they’re seeing tremendous results from the migration.

The Windows For Your Business blog also has a mention:

IE9 is designed with businesses in mind, and customers are taking notice. Businesses are benefitting from a better browsing experience for their employees who rely more and more on the Internet and web-based apps to get their work done. They can be more productive with the improved search features, streamlined design, the ability to pin sites and faster performance. Standardizing on one modern browser minimizes security and compliance issues for the company and the IT department.

In a briefing earlier this week, I asked about where the savings are coming from. According to Mr. Capriotti, it was a combination of things, many of which overlap, including improved malware protection, reduced help desk calls, faster browsing performance (which is obviously hard to quantify from a cost savings perspective), and the positioning of IE 9 as a good foundation for future web standards-based solutions.

Caprioti also mentioned that Microsoft was somewhat surprised by how well IE 9 worked from a compatibility standpoint. That is, in testing, businesses will simply see how well IE 9 works against their existing sites/web apps, and while there were certain expectations around that, in the real world, IE 9 actually worked really well. "In general, the problems they experienced were minor," he told me. "The feedback on this has been very positive."

Obviously, if you're interested in this topic, you'll want to check out the actual report, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site.