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Windows 8 VDI Licensing Confusion

In the old days, Microsoft had a simple approach to announcing new things -- it just announced them. Now, in the age of blogs, it uses them to deliver little bits and pieces, or leak out things out here and there. Journalists, and often other bloggers, are left analyzing, speculating, guessing with limited information to go on.

I've waited nearly a full week to blog here about Microsoft's VDI licensing disclosures surrounding Windows 8, hoping it would all start to make sense. It still doesn't. The info is just too sketchy.

So I'll tell you what I know and when there's more, well, I'll tell you more.

The news, or semi-news, surrounds Windows 8 -- of which there will only be three editions planned for x86, down from the six versions of Windows 7 on sale today -- as well as new VDI licensing options planned for Software Assurance customers.

Here's where it gets confusing: Software Assurance (SA) is a program where customers pay extra to get extra benefits and qualify for software upgrades. But some of the new VDI licensing options may require a "Companion Device License" (CDL) and may cost extra on top of the extra cost of SA. Hmmm.

So what could be worth all those Benjamins? The CDL would let end users use mobile devices, in fact several of them, to access Windows 8 desktops remotely -- sort of like LogMeIn on steroids.

That's what I know, or think I know, but there are still missing details. Read more about what we do know here.

If you have insights, predictions or clarifications, e-mail them to me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/04/2012 at 1:19 PM


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