Feeds

What the hell is Microsoft's new software licensing programme?

A cut out and weep guide

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

There has been a lot of fuss made about Microsoft's new software licensing programme recently but following weeks of claim and counterclaim, depositions to government bodies, two delays and plenty of public posturing, if you're anything like us you will be completely confused as to what the hell is actually going on.

That is why we've decided to write a small, informative and mildly entertaining guide to what it is, why Microsoft is doing it, why others aren't and what's going to happen to it. This is it:

Will the scheme cost companies more or less money?
Both, depending on how frequently you upgrade software. If your company has a policy of always having the latest software, Microsoft loves you and it will work out cheaper. If you are running old software and only upgrade occasionally, it will be more expensive (which obviously applies to most small businesses).

How come?
Basically - as Microsoft points out - because it is simplifying its software licence system. Previously (and currently) there was a whole range of bulk discounts on software upgrades. Microsoft is simplifying this down to an annual one-off upgrade fee. At the same time, however, MS is insisting that companies buy new licences every time they upgrade software.

A simpler, cheaper system benefitting those who automatically upgrade their Microsoft software.

But companies are concerned that Microsoft is effectively trapping them (by making it more financially viable) into paying it an annual fee rather than licensing/purchasing its products. Microsoft becomes a software outsourcer rather than a simple supplier. Effectively you are renting software from Microsoft.

Why has Microsoft done this?
Is it because, as it says, customers have asked for it and it makes everything simpler, more predictable and easier to budget?

Don't be bloody stupid

Why then?

Because it makes companies beholden to it

So it makes companies upgrade automatically all the time, making any controlling mechanisms in the latest version (oh look, mummy, it doesn't work with anything else but Microsoft software) a hundred times more effective; and it makes the company more money (£100 now or 11 lots of £10 over the year)?
But that's...

Basic economics, yes. The question is: where did it go wrong?
I know this one. Because while Microsoft claims it has its customers' best interests at heart, it didn't actually ask them about this new scheme and hoped to push it through with the support of its most loyal fans in the IT departments of big business - who, incidentally, have the most to gain out the new system.

So what's going to happen between now and July?
Well, if Microsoft can persuade enough people that it's right, the system will go through despite protests. That is nowhere near decided though. If Microsoft maintains its arrogant approach it may just alienate the people it needs to support the scheme and then we'll see some rapid redrawing of rules.

Will all this encourage take up of Linux and cheaper software?
To a degree. Small companies stand to gain the most by shifting to cheaper alternatives but then there is the magic Microsoft tie-in factor. People know the Office suite - if it's not available on Linux, small companies may consider the extra is worth paying, rather than retrain staff on new packages. In a small company, time taken out for retraining is even more significant.

Does all this have anything to do with Microsoft's .Net vision?
Yes it does. The great advantage - and coincidentally, people's great fear - about MS' .Net idea is that everything is run by Microsoft. It knows so much and is so considerate that it will take all those pesky problems with IT away from your gaze and worry about it itself. Everything fits together; just buy Microsoft.

The licence scheme is the first step in pulling companies IT concerns away from an internal department and into Redmond. Once it is in control of these aspects of a companies business, it might feel free to revise its pricing.

Is Microsoft the devil?
Come on, Microsoft wouldn't be Microsoft if it didn't try these things on every year. ®

Related Stories

UK plc hates MS licence terms (true)
MS prices will 'damage UK business'
MS urged to delay licence (to print money) changes
Upgrade your MS apps before 1 October - Gartner
Put brakes on Windows upgrade escalator, Gartner urges MS
MS doubles prices for enterprise customers

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.