Gates under fire over upgrade pricing, licence policies
Apparently concurrent licensing was unpopular, so Microsoft dropped it. Unpopular with Microsoft's beanies, was that?
In between defending Microsoft over the current DoJ action and telling the DoJ where it should point the next one, Gates seems to have been taking some flak over Microsoft's NT Terminal Server licensing policies, and its upgrade pricing. Speaking at the Gartner Symposium in Florida yesterday he fielded claims that Microsoft has been ratcheting upgrade fees for its apps by claiming that Microsoft's revenue from Office on a per copy basis falls every year. But this is the antitrust action that didn't bark - yet. Before the coalition of US States merged their antitrust action with the DoJ's, they'd intended to push allegations of predatory pricing strategies on Microsoft applications, but that didn't make it into the merged complaint. Claims that Microsoft deliberately undercuts rivals with volume pricing deals and 'peppercorn' corporate licences are however rife. As are bitches from corporate customers who reckon they're being forced to pay penal rates for upgrades so their organisations can stay current. And, sometimes, so their apps and operating systems are going to carry on working together. Note that Gates answered the question by referring to Office - but SQL Server and Exchange might be more interesting places for people to look. The eruption of complaints about Terminal Server licensing is also interesting. At the Citrix Thinergy conference in Florida last month large numbers of attendees were, basically, boiling mad about Terminal Server licensing (Microsoft licence policy crumbles under fire) . Microsoft imposes a 'per seat' licence fee, so any machine that will at some point be connected to NT Terminal Server needs an NT Workstation licence and a CAL (Client Access Licence). The users want concurrent licensing, which is a lot cheaper for them because they only pay for the number of machines connected to the server at any one time. Most of them argue that Microsoft's licensing policy for Terminal Server is a real negative in rolling out thin client/server network systems - Microsoft's share of the cake makes a big difference to costs, so potential customers aren't deploying anything like as fast as they'd want to otherwise. So here's Bill's take on it. He claims that concurrent licensing is yesterday's model - Microsoft abandoned it because it was difficult to administer (translation: We think our customers were lying to us) and "unpopular." If there's anybody out there who doesn't work for Microsoft and thinks concurrent licensing is unpopular with anybody but Microsoft, please mail us. Here, we reckon this is a dam that's about to burst. ® Click for more stories