I 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”
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.
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.
Here's an interesting dialog about SharePoint — notice the comments about licensing:
Woo this is a nice blog, i would love to read more.
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