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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11/30/2012 11:49:40 PM
You don't appear to be familiar with PostgreSQL. What major vendors DON'T support PostgreSQL these days? Support for PostgreSQL is often better than commercial db support. The Wisconsin state court system switched from Sybase (what SQL server is derived from) to PostgreSQL and the person who made the switch told stories of often needing to wait weeks for Sybase to issue patches to fix problems while just using the *free support* from the PostgreSQL community he was able to get in touch with actual developers and usually have solutions in 24 hours. That's not counting the commercial support from companies like EnterpriseDB. The performance of PostgreSQL was also superior and the feature set so rich they were considering abandoning coding completely in portable standard SQL to take advantage of the extra features.
What exchange is capable of? I know! Creating ridiculous amounts of vendor lock-in it's almost impossible to extricate oneself from? :-) Seriously, it's a simple e-mail server and groupware system with shared email, contacts, address book, etc. Software to replace that is a dime a dozen... Zimbra, eGroupWare, Kolab, etc. If you want to put the pieces together from disparate sources the options are much larger.
You're doing nothing except regurgitating old saws "... support is vastly superior". Those who have actually (attempted to) use MS support beg to differ. There's not even **an open bug tracker** for Windows or Office! If you can find where to report a bug you simply enter your information in without even be asked for an e-mail address for follow-up! It probably gets sent right to /dev/null. Office is so riddled with bugs it's hard to fathom. For a decade statisticians have been warning their colleagues not to rely on Excel for statistical work in numerous published papers. Unlike other software vendors, MS simply refused to fix bugs that they revealed, to the point where one paper even asked the question, "Does Microsoft Bother To Fix Bugs In Excel?" Some Excel functions returned ZERO digits of accuracy! Many of them existed from Excel 97 and only got fixed in Excel 2010! 2010 is much better now (on the functions that have been tested, at least) but still has some issues and the original paper authors still haven't cleared it for serious work. Meanwhile, they've written about open source spreadsheet Gnumeric, whose five or six unpaid volunteers took their list of errors (far less than Excel's) and fixed most of them within a few weeks and the next release of Gnumeric passed their benchmarks with flying colors while it's been a decade-long oddessy for Microsoft to slowly fix the identified problems in Excel (sometimes exchanging one inaccurate algorithm for another inaccurate algorithm). OpenOffice also had issues, but again much less than Excel and the developers were happy to have the problems found and moved to correct them immediately.
I wouldn't let a company that takes 13 years to fix serious bugs (for which optimal algorithm solutions are generally well-known and published in the public domain) get their software anywhere near my company's PCs. Support is NOT vastly superior. That's before you get into the fact that Master Documents in Word has been broken since Word '95 straight through 2010 and large documents will inevitably lead to corruption. And I can also get into what Access users have had to put up with. Or go way back and bring up the phony error messages they used to put in their products that would come up if you were using a non-MS DOS to scare you. No, "superior support" has never been what MS has been known for. I'll take the commercial support offered for open source products by many vendors or even the free support from developers and users over MS any time. The best part with open source is that you can fix non-trivial problems oneself (or pay another firm to do it) without having to wait, hope and pray that Redmond or Cupertino get around to it. Just two days ago I was testing out OpenSUSE 12.2 before upgrading and found an issue where the password was being asked for multiple encrypted partitions at bootup even though it should only ask once because they all use the same password. The boot system employs human-readable scripts - if you can call bash scripts readable :-) - and I was able to find the appropriate one and figure out generally what it did even though I am not a bash programmer and last looked at bash 25 years ago when I got to play around on an old UNIX mainframe at AT&T after school as a kid. I thought I might know what the problem was but not why, cut and pasted a line, added a few more words, rebooted and - voila! It worked! Now I can not only file a bug report but a solution report as well. :-) My first open-source contribution. :-) If it was Windows, I'd have had to file a bug report into the void and if I was lucky wait for Patch Tuesday assuming they considered it a bug and then that they got to it right away. Even if I didn't find a solution (and I'm sure SUSE will implement a slightly cleaner one) since the problem was small I'm sure I would have heard back right away from a developer as it was easily reproducible in a VM and probably even been given the fix to try out/use before it made it into the patches - which DON'T wait for Patch Tuesday before going out.
No, the old saw about support really doesn't apply anymore. I know of one firm that provides paid support for FIVE HUNDRED open source tools from libraries up to applications and OS. I've had no problems relying on open source and its support for small business, and even many large firms today have no problem either... I think I saw something about over 80% of U.S. businesses using at least one open source component in their businesses today. PostgreSQL is used everywhere from pharma giants Genentech and BASF to the U.S. CDC, NWS and state department to Apple, Red Hat, IMDb, Reddit, and at least until MS bought it, Skype.
[Regarding switching the Wisconsin court system to PostgreSQL]:
"We've been very happy with both the performance of the product and the support we have received from the mailing lists. Overall, PostgreSQL has been faster than the commercial product from which we converted. Even more important is the fast response we have had when posting problems to the lists. We have normally had a fix within 24 hours. Frankly, the support has been amazing."
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