Microsoft Eases Up on Licensing

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.