Since the release of Windows 8 RT, a number of articles and discussions have “Surfaced” (sorry, couldn’t resist!) related to Microsoft’s introduction of licensing rules that make it less expensive to run Windows 8 RT on Windows “companion” devices versus non-Windows devices such as iPads, iPhones, Androids, etc. As a result, I set off to read the Microsoft Licensing information.
If you think the US Tax Code is confusing, you should read the Microsoft Product Use Rights. After reading the 123-page document my head was spinning. I can understand the Windows 8 RT licensing rule, but that rule seems trivial compared to the rest! It’s s one thing to understand that if I install a Windows Operating System on a computer, I need a license. However, I challenge you to figure out what CAL (Client Access License) you need for that workstation, user or server. There are “Core” CALs, “Additive” CALs, Exchange CALS and External Connectors; the list goes on and on. In addition, you have device licensing and user licensing, retail or volume license agreements and more.
Ever try to set up automatic tracking for CALs? It’s not a fun process even for asset management experts such as ourselves, much less our customers.
Technology is in a state of perpetual change, and I think a revolution in Microsoft’s licensing model is long overdue. The time is now to introduce user-based license models, which would simplify an overwhelming amount of this needless complexity. Perhaps the place to start is by offering a core device license for your primary workstation (if you have one), as well as a “user” license that allows you access to all services and servers in your organization. While this wouldn’t completely untangle the Gordian knot that is Microsoft’s licensing program, it would be a significant step in the right direction and send an important signal to end user organizations that Microsoft is willing to adjust its way of doing business to help customers be successful in their efforts to stay compliant. Come on, Microsoft… where do YOU want to go today?