Does Microsoft complicate its licensing on purpose?

Recent comments from the company's CEO suggest the company has little interest in simplifying its licensing any time soon

It's so difficult, in fact, that many companies need help to navigate licensing Microsoft products. Both Noles and Hultquist said they use third parties to help them wade through Microsoft contracts. "I think it's overly complicated. Even the rep that we use locally has said, 'If it wasn't so complicated, I wouldn't have a job,'" Noles joked.

With more companies pondering or implementing a mix of traditional software and hosted services -- such as Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite, a bundle of hosted collaboration and productivity services -- Microsoft licensing is bound to get even more complex, DeGroot said.

He said that the way Microsoft's enterprise agreements (EAs), or special licensing contracts available to enterprise customers, work now, many companies are still paying for CALs for all of their internal users, even if they have switched some of them to Microsoft's hosted services.

For instance, if a company with an EA has 1,000 people using Exchange, and half are accessing the software on-premise and the other half using Microsoft's hosted Exchange service, that organization will be paying more than it should for that hybrid environment.

"You would have to buy 1,000 licenses for internal users even though only 500 people are using it, then you would buy 500 subscriptions [to the hosted service] on top of that," he said.

Microsoft is still working out how to balance this hybrid licensing, and right now offers some credit back to companies in such a case, DeGroot said. However, a company still could be paying twice for licenses if they try to mix software and services.

As Microsoft tinkers with its licensing to better accommodate these hybrid environments, Elop said it's important to keep in mind that Microsoft's reason for having a variety of licensing options is to give customers choice. While it might take them some time to figure out which provide the best fit, he said, it will ultimately be worth it.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags software licensingMicrosoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?