From the San Jose Mercury News (via the Seattle Times)...
In an interview with Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer a few weeks ago, I asked if he had added up how much money it cost to develop Vista. He laughed, "I can't say I have. It would be impossible to count up. ... I'm sure it's a lot."This is incomprehensible. A CEO has no idea how much his most significant product in six years cost to build.
If we assume Microsoft's costs per employee are about $200,000 a year, the estimated payroll costs alone for Vista hover around $10 billion.
Then the other incomprehensible "tidbit" is that it cost at least $10 billion USD. And they did not even get a new operating system out of it. The new product is really a face lift and some bug fixes on an aging infrastructure.
In light of this the stock price should be significantly lower. Software companies are difficult to invest in, and MSFT has to be one of the most difficult.