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BYOD Equals BYOL (Buy Yourself Another License)

Our ace Redmond Web news maven Kurt Mackie recently analyzed what BYOD means for software licensing. At first I wondered why he bothered. Isn't it the same as a corporate device? Turns out it can be, but not necessarily, and the differences are worthy of your study. Don't get it right and you could be wasting money, or worse, not be in compliance and have the licensing cops pay you a visit.

Here's what I gleaned from Kurt's report:

Interestingly, a variety of machines, including Android devices and iPads (even smartphones) can be BYODs and may require extra licenses.

So how do you know what does and doesn't need licenses? Several issues, including whether the device is used remotely or on-premises, weigh in. Part of that is that remote devices are often companion or unmanaged devices and are apparently taxed less by the Redmond licensing machine.

One area that is relatively simple is that machines that need to access servers need client access licenses. However, if these are bought on a per-user basis, the device should be in the clear.

Beyond this, much of the BYOD licensing issues are the same as for corporate devices. The trick, so far as I can see, is to determine what licenses you can avoid if the BYOD machine is truly a companion device, to carefully parse what a per-user means and to research if that is a better deal than a per-device equivalent.

How versed are you in Microsoft licensing, are the terms more complex than need be, are they fair and have you ever been visited by the software fuzz? Answers to any or all questions welcome at

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/02/2012 at 1:19 PM


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