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MS Terminal Server policy collapses

Beset by raging corporate customers, Redmond is running up the white flag

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Any minute now Microsoft will abandon its Windows Terminal server strategy, halving prices and reintroducing concurrent licensing, according to reliable sources. The announcement is due this afternoon US Pacific time, and will slash the cost from $319 to $109 for a Terminal Server client plus a further $40 for an NT file and print Client Access Licence (CAL). Microsoft had previously insisted that each and every client connected to a Windows Terminal Server network had to pay an NT Workstation licence, whatever the operating system, plus a CAL, making Microsoft's take for each client equivalent to having a full-blown NT workstation installed. Corporate customers wanting to implement thin client system squealed long and loud, but Microsoft was adamant (although we should note that The Register was predicting the entire show would crash around Redmond's ears some months back). The rout is however now complete. Aside from the basic halving of the cost of Terminal Server clients, Microsoft is to offer an additional discount of up to 50 per cent to enterprise customers. Varying prices in this way for the big customers is more or less what goes on normally at Microsoft, so the new price level can probably be defined as whatever it takes not to lose the business. On top of this Microsoft will be offering enterprise customers half price CALs for people who need to connect from home as well (previously it was the full whack for both licences), and will be reintroducing what seems to be a concurrent licensing system. The Internet Connection Licence is a cool $10,000 for 200 of something called "anonymous users." That is, it's a mechanism to budget for Internet operations which are acting as Application Service Providers, allowing time-shared access to Win32 applications running on a Web server. Ts & Cs of the Internet Connection Licence weren't absolutely clear at time of writing, but as it works out at $50 a pop it's probably an indication of the direction Terminal Server client licences are heading in. South, that is... ®

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