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BYOD fees for "user CAL" licenses of Sharepoint, Lync, etc. will jump 15 percent

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has announced a change that's good news for its investors and bottom line, but likely bad news for business clients.

The change affects Microsoft's so-called client-access license (CAL).  If you own a business, you purchase a CAL from Microsoft, which allows your on-site employees to use software such as:
  • Bing Maps Server
  • Core Suite
  • Enterprise Suite
  • Exchange Server Standard or Enterprise
  • Lync Server Standard or Enterprise
  • Project Server
  • SharePoint Server Standard or Enterprise
  • System Center 2012 Client Management Suite
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Endpoint Protection
  • Visual Studio TFS
  • Windows Multipoint Server
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Server RDS, RMS, Terminal Services
There are two flavors of CALs -- User CALs, which allow a unique user to connect any device they own, and the Device CALs, which associate a per device license fee.  Previously Microsoft had set these two licensing options to the same price.  
User CALDevice CAL
User CALs (left) are the preferred solution for BYOD users, versus Device CALs (right).

That was great news for enterprise users, as one of the hottest trends right now in IT is the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) craze.  BYOD means that one user may not only connect from both a work machine (say a work laptop), but also personal machines they own (say their personal tablet and laptop).  If a business was to buy a Device CAL license, it'd have to buy three licenses for those devices, but with the User CAL, the employee had the flexibility to use any of those devices, while the employer was on the hook for only a single license fee.

But the deal is about to get a little less sweet, as Microsoft has announced that it will be bumping the price of its various User CALs by 15 percent.  The price change will take affect Dec. 1. However, large customers that have Enterprise Agreements, Enterprise Subscription, Open Value Subscription, and Open Value Perpetual will be able to hang on to their current pricing until the end of their contract.

Ultimately this seems like a smart move for Microsoft.  After all, a 15 percent premium User CAL is still the cheaper option for enterprise customers, if the average user connects with 2 or more devices.  But the move could also backfire, forcing some smaller clients to free, open source alternatives.  However, making such a switch can be costly and the end result may be inferior software, in some cases.  
For those reasons it seems unlikely that Microsoft will see mass defections, even if it may be offering up an irritating change to its business clients.

Sources: SoftCat, Microsoft, ZDNet

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RE: Typical
By dgingerich on 11/28/2012 1:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let me put it this way, we have about 4 times as many Linux test machines than Windows test machines, with over 1300 systems total, yet I rarely get calls on Windows machines, about one per month or less. I get constant problems with Linux machines. In our last power outage, (we have rather unstable power, this outage was a yoyo type outage, where it would come up for about 15-30 seconds and go down again, repeatedly for over 16 hours) we lost 19 Linux boxes to software problems, and all had to be rebuilt from the ground up. We did not lose a single Windows machine. We even lost one Solaris machine. Our half a dozen AIX and HP-UX machines did fine, but they weren't set to autoboot after a power outage.

The Windows machines did have some issues booting up, in that they didn't complete the previous boot and went into safe mode asking if there was a hardware problem. I just had to go through ipmi and tell the machine to reboot normally. I've never seen Linux or Unix do that. I haven't even seen Linux or Unix have a safe mode boot option to try to salvage the server if there is damaged files.

On top of that, I can make a DHCP, DDNS, and firewalled router out of a Windows Server box in about an hour, but Linux takes days, and tons of typing and testing, and that's just DNS and DHCP. It can't even do dynamic DNS, and routing takes even longer to get working, if it ever works. (Yes, I know iptables does routing. Have you ever tried to get it to work? Have you ever tried to find directions? Apparently, there are so many different version that all use different syntax that you can't even be sure any of the commands are taken correctly. If a NIC goes bad, you have to redo the whole thing from scratch. Forget trying to do it with a VM, you'll have to redo the whole routing setup every time it reboots. ip6tables routing is even more mysterious.) Oh, and forget any sort of documentation. these programs are done by engineers in their free time, meaning documentation is sparse and completely inaccurate. Completely forget using Linux for any sort of database server unless you've been thoroughly trained, and then only for the version you've trained for. Absolutely nothing is intuitive in Linux. Windows is intuitive in everything.

In three years in this job, I have learned a lot about Linux. The more I learn, the more I hate it. It's ancient, very poorly designed, (I swear HP-UX was designed by hell-spawn) and very poorly supported. Advanced systems are easier to use. That's the point of advancement: to do more, easier. The ancient attitude of Unix and Linux engineers is completely backwards from what it should be. Making it harder to use doesn't ensure your job by making you irreplaceable. It ensures that you will be replaced by someone who will do it right.

Linux support people cost more than twice Windows support people, and Unix is even worse. More Linux and Unix support people are needed to do that support these days, too. Windows has become so much more stable and secure in recent years that it's passed up everyone in that area. Windows 7 needs less than a third of the support calls of previous versions, and many more of those calls are easily handled remotely. A company basically just needs trained script monkeys to support their machines these days. A single good support person could support and office of 500 to 1000, depending on how locked down it is, easily with Win 7, where WinXP required about 1 per 100. Linux is still stuck on needed about 1 per 50. Unix has been about 1 per 200-250, depending on the version, for about 30 years.

That's why Windows is constantly increasing in market share, and Linux and Unix are constantly losing.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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