Microsoft Takes One Step Forward and One Step Back
Opinion: The expanded powers of Windows Product Activation do not do customers any favors and may even backfire on Microsoft.Microsoft recently announced its intention to make life easier for its Windows Server customers whore building virtualization into their infrastructures, by changing its licensing to permit an unlimited number of virtualized Windows Server instances to run on a single copy of Windows Server 2003 Data Center Edition. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a similar change to its Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition product, allowing for four concurrent Windows Server instances. These moves were smart because theyre truly pro-customerthe less time Windows admins spend messing with their OSes, the more time they can spend messing with their apps. This is also smart because Microsofts rivals in the server space, namely, Linux and Solaris, offer much more flexible licensing than does Windows. Microsofts Windows Server license liberalization choices shouldve been a no-brainer: Microsoft simply had to do it, lest Windows Server risk losing momentum or even beginas our Linux-Watch colleague Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols has suggestedslipping backward.
At the same time that these smart licensing moves have been bubbling up out of Redmond, Microsoft has been making some not-so-smart licensing moves. Specifically, Microsoft has announced its plans to make life tougher for its corporate Windows client customers by extending the Windows Product Activation scheme it set forth back when Windows XP first shipped to include volume license customers, who get to join one-off Windows buyers in dealing with the pirate-busting technology. Extending WPA means adding a new item of potential hassle to IT plates that are already stacked too tall dealing with all the other hassles to which Windows is heir.