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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-04-19 Print this article Print

Some customers welcomed the possibility of SPLAs, saying that option opens the market further for providers to offer complete desktop management contracts to smaller organizations than is otherwise practical. "Our partners and clients could take advantage of this to cut their own costs, thereby indirectly reducing our costs," said Chuck Kramer, chief technology officer for Social & Scientific Systems Inc., in Silver Spring, Md.

Sources said another change under discussion involves the creation of a universal Client Access License, known as a "Super CAL," which would bundle rights to many more servers than are now found in the core CAL currently included in enterprise agreements. But Ballmer disputed talk of plans for a Super CAL. "There might be somebody talking about it, but still, in my opinion, I dont think it will happen. I dont know about it," Ballmer said.

Jack Beckman, an application programming manager for Service Centers Corp., in Southfield, Mich., said Microsoft should rethink its CAL strategy in the face of Linux. "Microsoft products that look very attractively priced on the server become cost-prohibitive for us when all the licenses are added in—and the management is a nightmare. A more universal Super CAL might be helpful if it makes management easier and pricing lower," Beckman said.

These possible licensing changes follow growing concern by some Microsoft customers who, in 2002, signed up for three-year Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance plans, only to watch Microsoft push back some new products, including Longhorn and Yukon. As a result, their contracts with Microsoft might expire before those products ship.

Social & Scientifics Kramer is concerned about the delays in delivery of products like Yukon and Longhorn. "Much of our decision to go with Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance was based on pure economics and Microsofts anticipated timeline," he said. "That has borne out to be an incorrect calculation on our part. We are not very pleased with the Software Assurance program. We dont feel it has been a good value for us overall."

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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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