With all the different testing tools out there, how do you know which one is the best fit for you? First things first, what is the budget? If it is non-existent, then you will want to start by looking at open source tools. Simply use your favorite searching tool, but keep in mind that in some cases you get what you pay for.
If you do happen to have a little money saved up for a tool, think about what you want to test and what goal you want set for your QA team. If you are automating tests for an SAP application, then consider HP tools. Microsoft currently does not support testing SAP other than through manual means. If the only testing will be manual for the next 5+ years, then do not worry about any fancy automation or performance testing plug-ins or integrations.
As you develop you QA standards and start incorporating advanced styles of testing, you will want to look at Application Lifecyle Management (ALM) tools. Both HP and Microsoft have what they consider ALM tools. The big differences come in how much reporting/insight to the entire project you want, as well as how many tools you want. HP has many tools to cover the project manager and quality assurance roles. These all integrate together, but you will still need separate tools for development. HP has several built in reports that are nice, but customizing reports can be a little painful. With Microsoft Visual Studio, project managers, quality assurance, and developers are all under one tool. They may use it in different ways, i.e. the project managers only care about tracking tasks in Excel, Project, or SharePoint, while the quality assurance engineers do manual executions in Test Manager. Since all code, tests, requirements, and tests are all in one location, shifting from manual to automated testing is much easier than HP’s buying a new tool. QA can execute automated tests that run on demand, nightly, or at code check-ins. The cost of quality is lower because automated tests uncover code defects outside of an official testing cycle.
Still unsure? If you want to assure quality at a low cost, then I would recommend Microsoft. I have worked on a number of engagements with both sets of tools and both work very well. They both have a perfectly good place in the QA world. Because Visual Studio keeps everything together, has more customizable reporting, and is about half the cost over all, it is my personal favorite.