Microsoft Licensing: PhD in nuclear physics, economics, and philosophy needed…

On my trip to Redmond and in the meeting with Steve Ballmer, I wanted to ask him a question about licensing.  He wouldn’t allow me, but I felt I needed to blog on why I am so upset.

First, have you ever tried to understand Microsoft licensing?  No, really.  Besides the knee jerk comment, "Yeah, I understand, just pay money."

When you buy an "Enterprise Agreement" (EA) with Microsoft, you get a bunch of stuff.  You get the Enterprise Editions of software that you will use and pay the requisite CALs (Client Access Licenses).  This EA costs a LOT of money.  When my client bought the EA, they were told that they needed to get Software Assurance (SA) to ensure that they could upgrade WITHOUT cost to the next version.  Fine, wallet comes out again and SA is bought.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) comes out and my client gets the bits for the next version.  We go to lunch with our Microsoft reps to let them know that we will be upgrading and to ask them some questions about other things.  During the conversation the MS rep pulls out a document that lists the features of MOSS vs SPS 2003 and the licensing structure of each.  What to our surprise, the MOSS we are implementing isn’t the same MOSS that Microsoft thinks we are implementing.  No, we want ENTERPRISE features and hey, that costs EXTRA.  What happened to our EA with SA?  The whole point of buying those packages is so that we don’t have to worry about EXTRA costs.  Microsoft says EA doesn’t apply to SharePoint because there is only ONE version.  The ENTERPRISE FEATURES are EXTRA features and require MORE money.  How much more?  $25 each.  Not just 25 dollars *more*…you have to buy the REGULAR license at $75 each and then $100 each for the ENTERPRISE stuff (Search, BDC, Excel Services, etc).  That’s $175 per person where it should have been FREE!!  Multiply that times 100,000 users.

You hurt me with $75…you INSULT me with $175.  OK…I’ll stop frothing at the mouth now…..


Filed under Computers and Internet

5 responses to “Microsoft Licensing: PhD in nuclear physics, economics, and philosophy needed…

  1. David

    I recall having a conversation with a customer of mine in Hartford.  They were (are) one of the largest aircraft manufacturing companies in the world and had just been through the wringer of trying to decide how many servers to purchase for thier planned enterprise upgrade.  He asked me how many Domain Controllers *I* thought a 30k user network might need.  I replied that depending upon the network infrastructure and load, they would be able to handle things easily with no more than 20.  He immediatly shot back with, "But Compaq and Microsoft both say we need 53!  Are you telling me they are lying?"  I replied that no, they weren\’t lying.  There wasn\’t even a conspiracy.  They were simply doing their job.  I asked him two questions:
    1 – What does Microsoft sell?  (the answer is, Licenses)
    2 – What does Compaq sell:  (the answer now is nothing … <g> but they USED to sell servers …)
    He asked me what my point was … I told him that it looked like a match made in Heaven!  … a great partnership.  Then I asked him what stake each of them had in his network?  He replied, "53 domain controllers with licenses!!!"  I then asked him what kind of stake *I* had in the mix …  He answered, none when it comes to the servers.  We pay you for your time.  "Right", I replied.  "So what should I do?", he asked.
    "Your job," I replied.  "Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware"  If the consumer does his homework, he can deal with the sales rats.  Since this guy had taken the Enterprise Networking class that I used to teach, I told him that had he not been sleeping through the lecture, he\’d have heard me discuss DC scaleability and recalled where it was in the book.  Then, he\’d have been able to deal with the sales reptiles AND wouldn\’t have had to pay me for my opinion!

  2. Richard

    This is more than haggling over price.  This is about "Bait and Switch".
    I buy what you tell me to buy because you say it will "protect" me from future pain.
    The future comes and you tell me I need to pay and then I ask "But what about the protection?"  You say, "What protection?  This is a different "thingamabop""
    Ballmer said, "One can always get better pricing…"  He missed the point!  It\’s NOT about haggling!!  It\’s about the structure of the licensing scheme so people know what to buy.  It\’s about TRUST.  When you say I should buy something so that I don\’t have to pay more in the future, I\’ll take your word for it.  Don\’t tell me later that I still need to pay.  Not a little more, but a @$#$%#@ LOT more!!

  3. Heide

    Ahhhhhh……..I just killed a couple of hours reading everything on your side….ja!
    Very interesting….It\’s just amazing what one can  find killing time on the net.
    Enjoy Spain, good food and wonderful people!

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