A quick defense of MS licensing

I’m a Microsoft Licensing MCP and spend a great deal of my time helping customers & colleagues with Microsoft licensing queries. This could be recommending the best programme to purchase on, the most cost-effective way to licence a particular product/project or it could be finding and rectifying compliancy issues.

While some parts of MS licensing can be difficult and it is an area that requires experts such as myself-I really don’t think it’s as difficult as people make out. Yes, customers can be put off by it’s apparent complexities but that is the case for so many things in IT yet it’s only MS licensing that comes in for such a bashing. I think part of it is similar to how PCs get more malware than Macs-MS licensing is simply more common than other manufacturers. Oracle licensing can be MUCH more complicated than SQL for example…but you just don’t hear people moaning about it as much.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

2 Replies to “A quick defense of MS licensing”

  1. Well, i’ve gotten used to Microsoft licensing and how it works. It’s usually pretty straightforward, and Microsoft’s PUR describe everything well.

    But the issue i have in the SMB space is that noone gives a shit about licensing correctly. Our competitors will happily offer MLK licenses on old computers, will happily sell a customer Exchange without any CALs since they’re not technically required, etc.

    This makes it hard to compete and stay legal – our Sales sometimes just offer what everyone else has offered, without trying to ascertain whether that licensing would be correct.

  2. I fully Agree, I like to describe it as “Complicated but not Difficult”.

    I love licensing and like nothing more than the problem sloving aspect of it. Any “complexities” are generally made in order to make the licences cheaper for the customer, e.g. deployment of company wide products in Open Value. (I will point out that Micrsoft do not help themselves with the Over-licensing issue when deploying SBS CALs company wide and orders SBS server, which comes with 5 CALs-but this does not overshadow the benefits of the whole program)

    I don’t know if you have already read this but parts made me laugh and others left me shaking my head:

    http://tech.yahoo.com/news/pcworld/20090909/tc_pcworld/analystsmicrosoftenterpriselicensingstillchallenging

    it is based on the following report:

    http://www.directionsonmicrosoft.com/samples/49-samples/788-5-reasons-why-microsoft-licensing-is-hard-and-is-likely-to-remain-that-way.html

    I quote from the first link:
    “If this remains the case, there is no real impetus for Microsoft to change its licensing, which remains difficult to understand for companies beyond the largest enterprises that have dedicated staff members to handle contracts, DeGroot said. ”

    If companies are going to invest in staff to ensure other aspect of their company run smoothly, why not Licensing? Yes, smaller companies outsource IT but then surely a reseller who offers this service should take preference over a reseller who has cheaper Prices? I am a big fan of the Redo your home-Build a new life-Property ladder Programs and have learnt one thing from them. If you want to keep your costs down, hire a project mananger. He will use his knowledge and experience to make sure you have enough bricks, cement and workers etc-Not too many, not too few- saving you money (And time). Yes this person costs you money in their salary, but saves you money overall. So you either hire a project manager, or you learn to do it yourself. Either use a reseller with Licensing skills, or hire an expert yourself.

    One point being De Groot is making, customers who have round 250 pcs do not know they can have and Enterprise agreement due to the labelling. This would be the first this I would say about the agreement to a customer with this many seats!

    But this quote is my favorite (first link):
    “The customer is not getting the best deal,” DeGroot said. “The complexity of the thing makes both Microsoft and the reseller disinclined to explain to the customer how they can save more money.”

    This is certainly false of Microsoft and and decent reseller! I don’t know any reseller who would not want to save the customer money, this is how you keep customers

    And Lastly, from the second link:
    “1. Many products and markets.

    Microsoft offers a broader set of products than any other software vendor, sells in virtually every country, and deals with customers of all sizes. A one-size-fits-all product packaging, licensing, and pricing approach couldn’t possibly work; complexity is simply unavoidable.”

    1. There is no one size fits all…hence the various programs

    2. Within these various programs, are programs which NEED to cover world wide for world wide customers.

    I am, therefore, at a bit of a loss to the point he is making? Part of his company’s services is Microsoft Boot camps…surely he knows this then?

    Tampering with the Agreements too much will just lead to more complexaties. Microsoft have recently launched the SESP program alongside the Schools agreement and Academic Select due to the consumer demad for more choiced. Now, the Schools program was simple, order a CAL or Desktop Application, deploy institution wide. Pricing is based on general usage for that licence. For example, An application used on most pcs would be relatively higher than an application not as widely used. The pricing was simple, the quoting was simple. Now Micrsoft have had to laungh the SESP pilot in order to give “more choices to the customer”. Now you either count the desktops or users and then you either licence institution wide or non institition wide, each generating a different price for the same product depending on how the customer intends to use it…this seems much more complicated and a lot more time consuming, hence the release only to EDLARs. The program left well alone seemed simple enough? Consumers themselves have demanded this change, should they not then pay for someone to understand it in order to sell it to them correctly?

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