Microsoft Eases Up on Licensing

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-05-16 Print this article Print

Microsoft continues to streamline its licensing models for enterprise customers.

As Microsoft Corp. continues its drive to make its licensing models simpler and more understandable to enterprise customers, the company will slash the number of product licensing models from 70 to nine effective July 1.

Microsofts PUR (Product Use Rights) document for enterprise customers, which is similar to an end-user licensing agreement, will also be simplified.

Microsoft has been trying to simplify its licensing models since it introduced the controversial Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance plan in 2002.

As Microsoft has added new products under the volume licensing umbrella, the licensing terms and models were added to the PUR agreement, which has kept growing and currently stands at 100 pages.

"So we looked at the 70 products and realized we could group them into just nine categories as well as simplify the legalese in the PUR and reduce repetition," said Sunny Charlebois, a product manager for Microsofts Worldwide Licensing and Pricing group, in Redmond, Wash.

As a result, the PUR was cut roughly in half to 44 pages, Charlebois said.

Some users, including John Persinger, an internal network administrator for Source4, in Roanoke, Va., said they believe that for Microsoft, every major decision is made with one goal in mind: revenue. "I think in this case, Microsoft has seen the negative views regarding their licensing translate into a financial impact, either projected or immediate, and they are acting based on that," Persinger said.

But Persinger welcomed the latest changes.

"For the last several years, especially since the release of Windows XP, Microsofts licensing has been the IT equivalent of the Sphinxs riddle—usually too confusing to solve, and asked of you with frightening consequences," he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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