Microsoft Mulls Price Layers

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-04-21 Print this article Print

Microsoft customers who upgrade to Windows Server 2003 could end up paying more than expected due to a host of layered add-on services.

Microsoft Corp. customers who upgrade to Windows Server 2003 could end up paying more than expected due to a host of layered add-on services scheduled to ship over the next six to nine months.

While the Redmond, Wash., software developer is remaining tight-lipped, sources said the company is considering charging users for a handful of add-on services that would be released after the initial launch of the product this week in San Francisco. Forthcoming services, they said, include the companys RTC (Real-Time Communications) Server, Active Directory Application Mode and Windows Rights Management, among others.

According to Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of the Windows Server group, Microsoft is committed to providing "logical, economically approachable solutions."

"We want to provide developers programmatic access to the [Session Initiation Protocol] stack as thats what they want on the platform, and I want to deliver that as part of the new platform," Veghte said in an interview last week with eWeek (see Face to Face). "Thats what Microsoft feels you should get for free, and we want to make that available to them this year. But there are no announcements at this time about how we think above that."

Some of Microsofts largest enterprise customers, such as Lockheed Martin Enterprise Information Systems, in Orlando, Fla., dont like the idea of paying extra for add-on technologies.

Massimo Villinger, chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin, said the company, which has a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft for its hundreds of servers and some 165,000 desktops, wanted to maximize its licensing benefits and minimize its licensing costs.

"We expect not to be paying a lot more for these technologies unless there are significant capabilities there. The architectural aspects of RTC are still evolving, and Microsoft has not told us they intend to charge for the product ... but you can be sure we will negotiate very hard with them around this," Villinger 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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