Microsoft Raises Its Licensing Fees to Cash in on Bring-Your-Own-Device
November 27, 2012 11:35 AM
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BYOD fees for "user CAL" licenses of Sharepoint, Lync, etc. will jump 15 percent
Microsoft Corp. (
) 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
Exchange Server Standard or Enterprise
Lync Server Standard or Enterprise
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 RDS, RMS, Terminal Services
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 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.
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11/28/2012 3:13:07 PM
In the Windows XP days, they tried this:
I got my hands on the CDs and tried it out on a regular laptop. It was basically XP with a couple additional tablet like things, like a virtual keyboard. It really wasn't anything special.
They even tried this before that, with Windows 98. "Tablets" were about 2 inches think back then, had a single core processor at 75 to 150Mhz, 4-8MB of memory, and a full desktop hard drive. Battery life was about 45 minutes. Touch screen was single touch, and lousy with accuracy. (Think Target check out lane card swiper level technology.) It had a calibration applet in the control panel that they recommended you run multiple times per day because temperature changes caused the screen to become less accurate. There wasn't such a thing as wireless networking back then, either. I had to actually set one up for someone as their corporate machine. He returned it within 2 months.
It's been a long, sordid history for MS and tablets. They had been trying to make workable tablets for almost 20 years, and then, when technology and the market finally make it viable, they missed the boat. It's kind of funny.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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