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Doug's Mailbag: License Confusion

Readers share their horror stories trying to figure out the madness that is Microsoft licensing:

Microsoft licensing is so darn confusing, even the VARs that sell the licenses have a challenge figuring it out. You would think, for example, that a 'volume license' would be a less expensive way to license product. After all there is just one set of media (or in some cases, just a download of media) and then keys to distribute. But a recent request for 10 licenses of a particular MS software had my VAR shipping me 10 retail boxes (media, cases, retail boxes, etc) because the pricing that way was significantly less expensive than 'volume pricing.' Now I have to manage those disks and licenses.

Three months ago, I needed to renew a volume license with Microsoft Software Assurance, and ended up with a new license and software assurance. I now hold twice as many licenses as I did, but have software assurance on only half of them. Ever looked at the volume licensing center and tried to figure out what you have licenses for and what you don't?  Even THAT is confusing <sigh>.

Microsoft licensing is way too complicated. In our great age of technology, where we have this undeniable urge to make everything we touch so much more complex than it needs to be, Microsoft Licensing is leading the way. Licensing concepts are so simple for the single user (for the moment) that if you need a software package, you purchase it, install it on a single computer and use it. If multiple people use the same computer, so what?

However, now we move into the multiuse arena. If you have two servers and 25 networked computers, not to mention a few that do not reside on the internal network, you're, in essence, screwed. Now you have to purchase a license for each computer OS, one for each user that connects to the server, the licensing fee for the server, the fee to make it virtual, the fee for each user that uses it, a fee to click your mouse more than 17 times in a session and a fee for each cup of coffee you drink while waiting on the software to give you the results you asked for 19 mouse clicks ago.

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected]. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).  

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/30/2011 at 1:18 PM


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