Windows 2008 Server Licensing == FAIL

2k8-server-licensing-for-dummiesI just saw a blog post from Bill Sempf describing a book he'd written for Microsoft to help them explain licensing for Windows Server 2008.  At first, I read right past a key metric, but I doubled back and read it again -- the book is 86 pages long.

Eighty-Six pages?? Really???

Now, don't get me wrong.  I have every faith that Bill's done a fine job of documenting the licensing requirements in the simplest fashion possible.  I don't mean to bash the book; I mean to bash the licensing requirements.

Do you think there's a chance that the real problem here isn't the fact that nobody liked reading licensing whitepapers?  Maybe the real problem is that the licensing model takes 86 pages to explain in a "Dummies" book.  How long is the "Licensing Unleashed" book going to be??

I'm not exactly sure how you fill up 86 pages with licensing guidelines, but I have to guess you're going to see chapters like this:

  • What's it going to take to put you in a new OS today?
  • If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
  • Feeding Ballmer's Ellison-envy since 1998.
  • If you think the licensing rules are complicated, you should see our commission calculations.
  • This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
  • Hang on a second while I go talk to our General Manager.
  • How much did you say your budget was again?

Enjoy the read, though.

4 Replies to “Windows 2008 Server Licensing == FAIL”

  1. See, I think you are wrong. Licensing for Windows Server is complex out of the necessity of making the software available to a diverse consumer base. Get me your postal address through email and I'll send you a copy of the book. Read it, and see if you don't agree with me. It is somewhat complex, but not impossibly so, and there is a good reason for the complexity that is there.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Bill. I'll look around the ICC office next time I'm back there — maybe they've got a copy laying around.

      I understand the complexity that's driving the pricing & licensing here — this is the Enterprise software pricing & licensing model made popular by vendors like SAP, Oracle and IBM. The licensing is complex because Microsoft has chosen a complex pricing model for their Enterprise software, and that's the path I'm lamenting.

      Microsoft pricing used to be stupid-simple — here's the SKU; here's the price. Over time, though, MS's pricing models have gotten more and more complex. Even consumer products aren't immune: look at the evolution of SKUs in their OS products. Windows NT introduced Workstation and Server products; XP introduced a “Home” version, and by the time Vista came out, I think there was genuine confusion in the market about which SKU was needed by any given person.

      Windows 7 shows no signs of improving on this trend; now we've got versions intended for netbook installs, special versions for EU installs (w/o IE8), and all the variants introduced with Vista, too. In fact, Microsoft is now pre-selling Win 7 upgrades, but they've yet to publish a clear definition of what, exactly, is actually *in* each edition!

      I'm not suggesting that Microsoft should charge the same for the OS I run on my home PC and the OS that runs a 32-core mega-box in a big data center, but I'd like to see MS step back from the brink a bit in terms of version proliferation. At this point, I honestly think they're creating enough confusion that they're shooting themselves in the foot.

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