Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Oct 2009 17:50 UTC
Microsoft Software licensing. As home users, it's already an incomprehensible mess of legalese that nobody cares one bit about. However - we home users have it easy. The situation for business users and people managing IT departments is even worse (proprietary software, mostly, of course). Microsoft is a major culprit in this regard, and while the company acknowledges that the situation is messy, they claim they can't really do anything about it.
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by g2devi on Mon 5th Oct 2009 19:21 UTC
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How can simplifying licenses increase costs? The BSD license is one of the simplest and requires no burden on development and almost zero burden on distribution. The GPL license is a bit more complicated, requiring no burden on development and only slight burden on distribution (if you make any changes). Borland's license terms (the ones that made Turbo Pascal popular) were simple (unlimited unmodified runtime redistribution for library, barely more than standard copyright terms for development tools) more more complicated and had a burden on development but none on distribution.

In all these cases, having a license manager and having a lawyer counsel you on what you can and cannot do when using the software was overkill.

Each complication to the license adds yet another cost to good companies that try to play by the rules, and more costs to Microsoft since it has to find ways to enforce all those rules.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nonesense
by dagw on Mon 5th Oct 2009 19:48 in reply to "Nonesense"
dagw Member since:

How can simplifying licenses increase costs?

Lots of ways. For example there might be a license that says product X costs $1000 pr server, unless the server is a backup fail over server for a production server, at which point it will only cost you $300. This adds a layer of complexity about exactly what constitutes a fail over server. They could simply remove the clause and say $1000 pr server no matter what, and then the price would go up for a lot of users.

A lot of the complex clauses in MS licencing is about letting you use certain cheaper licenses in certain limited cases. Removing those clauses will lead to a lot of people who are using the cheap licenses in limited ways will now have to pay full price

Reply Parent Score: 3

They Want Complexity...
by christianhgross on Mon 5th Oct 2009 20:23 in reply to "RE: Nonesense"
christianhgross Member since:

That is a pile of crap!

You are saying that all servers should be charged for 1000. How about we do the following. We charge 650 for each, and we get the magic number of 1300.

My point is that Microsoft very well knows what they charge and when. They have the statistics to simplify the cost structure so that it would work.

BUT the problem is that Microsoft wants to make more money. Thus instead of charging 650 they charge 850 and say, "hey look you have a bargain because servers are cheaper." But people look at the bottom line and say, "wait you are charging me more..."

This is the crux of the entire Microsoft price debate. Microsoft wants to charge to the waazoo but is unable to do so and hence by doing "special" clauses they can.

Look at their MSDN subscription pricing. It is absolutely insane, when originally it was about 1000 USD, now that same subscription costs about 3000.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Nonesense
by systyrant on Mon 5th Oct 2009 20:27 in reply to "RE: Nonesense"
systyrant Member since:

They could simplify licensing by not having so many different version of the same thing. Let's start with Windows desktop. How about one version. I will concede two, one for home and one for business.

Next we look at the server version. They don't need an Enterprise and Standard version. One version will be fine. Datacenter version I will let slide as a datacenter provides a different function.

Office could be simplified into a standard and pro version.

As for SQL Server. One for business and one for data centers.

The best part is now Microsoft doesn't need to support so many different versions. They save money.

Now we all know that you have full price users and those who qualify for discounts. Bam. Two licensing models. Next you throw in some Quantity discounts and your done. That's pretty simple.

Reply Parent Score: 4