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Microsoft eases licences with Windows .NET Server 2003

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Microsoft Corp is broadening client access rights to Windows servers through licensing changes unveiled yesterday along with the second release candidate (RC) of Windows .NET Server 2003.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp will let organizations access Windows .NET Server 2003 and Windows .NET Server 2003 Terminal Server on a per-user basis instead of per-device, with a new Client Access License (CAL).

The changes come amid widespread hostility and opposition among businesses to changes by the company in its volume licensing program, introduced this summer. Analysts believe up to two thirds of Microsoft customers have refused to sign up to Licensing 6.0.

Microsoft's group product manager Bob O'Brien said there is no connection between opposition to Licensing 6.0 and changes to the CAL. "User rights are another aspect of the licensing puzzle," he said.

Instead, O'Brien said the changes are designed to simplify Microsoft user rights and allow businesses to more accurately predict their IT costs. Licensing of Windows is a notoriously complex area, and CALs have helped generate confusion and fuel resentment among business customers towards Microsoft.

Under both systems, customers must buy copies of the server software, such as Window 2000, then they must buy the right to access the server software from client devices using a CAL. This gives rise to the notion that customers are being charged twice.

Under the new system, a per user CAL will be offered as an alternative to the per device CAL, which is still available.

"This is being driven as a corporate-wide initiative to get a more consistent model across the company, that gives predictability for the customer," O'Brien said.

Other licensing changes will see Microsoft re-name the Internet Connector (IC) license, introduced with Windows 2000, for External Connector (EC). O'Brien said EC's wording has been clarified allowing companies to connect both consumers and business partners to servers, while IC focused more on consumer connections.

Customers running Windows XP before Windows .NET Server 2003's scheduled launch, next April, will also be offered a Terminal Server CAL (TS CAL) to get Microsoft's Windows thin client features.

Windows .NET Server 2003 RC2 will be posed on Microsoft's web site later this week, the company said.

© ComputerWire

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