back to article Microsoft lobs licensing liposuction at Server 2012

Microsoft has unveiled licensing terms for its upcoming Windows Server 2012, slimming down to four versions and ending the Home and Small Business Server options. "Windows Server 2012 delivers a dramatically simplified licensing experience," says Redmond. "Shaped by feedback from customers and partners, the new Windows Server …


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  1. Craig Foster

    Just say NO!

    SBS being folded into Essentials with "pre-configured connectivity to cloud based services" presumably partly based in the US, thus coming under US laws?


    There's a reason SBS 2011 Standard outsells SBS 2011 Essentials, IT can actually be responsible for data leakage, up-time, and privacy guarantees.

    Looks like Microsoft swallowed the Apple X Server kool-aid as well :( We refuse to update to Os X Server 10.7 for this exact reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just say NO!

      Or just switch off the bits you don't want?

    2. AdamSV

      Re: Just say NO!

      Seems like you "presume" wrongly - the EOC in Dublin is where MS cloud services for Europe are hosted presently (including CRM Online for example). Backup site is in Amsterdam.

      So definitely inside EU laws, data protection borders etc.

      It does seem that lots of small businesses are more than happy to move to the cloud for things like email and document sharing, especially in their early days so they can pay for things month by month, rather than raising and spending a big outlay up front. Also works well with the "BYOD" crowd too.

      Selling SBS with these things already in has two problems- it means many firms would pay for things they don't need or want (either they don't see the need for the functionality or they already get it elsewhere eg Google docs, dropbox etc), and it makes it even harder to sell cloud services to someone that already paid a lot for an on-premises server that does roughly the same thing. Every SBS Standard sale is one more potential customer who will be harder to convince to move to the cloud later.

      The assumption that all small firms even have a department called IT is far from reality. Those that do can always opt for Server 2012 without the extra layers of wizard-based config and actually manage the server themselves and be as control-freaky as they like about it. Choose the products you want on top like Exchange and Sharepoint and pay for only what you actually use.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Just say NO!

        It seems Microsoft is going to force the Next Big Thing(tm) onto us whether we want it or not. My customers who have purchased SBS avoid Essentials because they don't want to be in the cloud -- they don't trust the cloud. The cloud takes their data out of their hands, or more specifically out of mine, and they trust me. I have a name, a face, and they know how to get hold of me, and my work speaks for itself.

        I'm hoping that enough resellers lobby Microsoft to reconsider its position on SBS. I'm only one person supporting a couple-dozen sites running SBS 2003, 2008, and 2011 which obviously do not have internal IT staff and have obviously out-sourced to me. I can't be the only one, and I imagine we still number fairly large.

        Paris, numbers fairly small for understandingment.

  2. Davidoff

    The popular Small Business Server and Home Server editions

    "The popular Small Business Server and Home Server editions are being folded into the Essentials build"

    Yeah, because people who bought a $60 WHS 2011 license are going to shell out $400 for Essentials.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: The popular Small Business Server and Home Server editions

      "Yeah, because people who bought a $60 WHS 2011 license are going to shell out $400 for Essentials"


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The popular Small Business Server and Home Server editions

      I wonder if this is saying that a whole load of people didn't buy WHS? Most of the people I know didn't bother with WHS, they got a TechNet subscription, which is a hundred quid, but does give you a ton of software.

  3. david 12 Silver badge

    MS dumps Small Business market

    Small Business was the original niche market for MS software, when IBM had big business and the Apple II dominated Home Business. It was always only a niche between the big Home and Business markets, where the big money is.

    So I won't pass judgement on the business decision to concentrate on the cash cows and cut loose loyal customers like me.

    Only that it indicates management is maximising revenue at the expense of market, which is what you would do if you think that MS is in a declining business.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...

    …thanks for pissing on small businesses everywhere. No, honestly, thank you.

    Seeing as I run one of the few local consulting companies with any real world experience in CentOS/RHEL migrations, you guys just paid my mortgage. Between the hostile licensing and Metro...

    ...what can I say except thanks?

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...

      I hate to say this Trevor but in the comments to one of your recent articles on Windows, someone (not me) did point out that Microsoft have a way of coming back and biting you.

      Thank goodness it's now rather than later.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...

        When have I ever said I trusted Microsoft, hmm? I have said - and I maintain to this day - three things:

        1) They have some great technology. Server 2012, System Center 2012, Hyper-V 3.0, SMB 3...they make shite a lot of the time (Metro), but they also turn out top notch stuff too.

        2) They have a lot of good people at that company who are dedicated to making the best products in as open and standards-compliant a manner as possible. They also have a bunch of derpy proprietary lock-in fetishists, but significantly less of them in the past few years than the decade before that.

        3) Microsoft's licensing department is powered by sadness and the tears of the innocent. There is nothing - nothing whatsoever - positive that can be said about them. Every customer- friendly move the rest of Microsoft makes which might earn them a little customer loyalty is instantly undone by licensing.

        Whatever goodwill they might have earned through openness, kick-ass tech or so forth they immediately flushed down the toilet with user-hostile decisions (mandatory nature of Metro) and everything-hostile licensing.

        I do not trust Microsoft. I will not trust Microsoft until they fly my ass down to Redmond to help them deal with their horrifically negative public image and help set licensing in the SME space to rights. (And actually IMPLEMENT those changes!) I am not far; I can even drive.

        Ordinarily I abhor travelling, but I would be willing to go out of my way to help MS help SMEs. SMEs are my clients, after all. In the meantime however, every hostile licenceing decision they make to try to increase revenue results instead in a loss of more customers.

        I can and do respect the technology Microsoft brings to the table. I can and do respect truly excellent individuals within Microsoft - like Jose Barreto - who strive to make the products on offer the best they can. I simultainiously believe wholeheartedly that Microsoft is pissing away its market, its customer base and its future.

        People are voting with their wallets.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...

          Number 3 made me lol

          Spot on, Microsoft licensing is concured up by evil forces not of this world.

  6. corcoran

    Christ - two crap versions (essentials, foundation), limiting SBS and no enterprise? mentalist.

    1. Fuzz


      Getting rid of enterprise is a good thing. The standard license covers you for two processors and they've now removed the stupid limit on the amount of RAM so for a two socket physical machine, standard is all you need. If you have a four socket machine you just buy two standard licenses.

      Same goes for virtualising, you buy one standard license for each two VMs running on a single box. Once you get to around 20 VMs on the same box it becomes cheaper to buy the datacenter version.

      One thing that seems to be suggested is that for a two socket machine you now only need one datacenter license, whereas before you had to have two.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I am surprised that MS did't fuck it up even worsera...

      By bringing out MS server basic, basic home, home, basic home and small office, basic small office, and then the pro versions like MS server Pro, Pro home, Pro home delux, Pro home and small office, Pro small office, and then the Enterprise versions like MS server Enterprise, Enterprise home, Enterprise home delux, Enterprise home and small office, Enterprise small office - and then you get the cloud versions of everything, then the server and cloud versions of every thing...

      Leading once again to Microsoft's dominance of the server market, with shit software that is exactly the same for all version of it, except they keep on dumbing it down and removing functional tools and process's in it - until the basic version is a on button only piece of shit with no functionality and costing $350, and the Enterprise Cloud and Server Corporate Edition, single user license is only $2500 per user....

      The same old cash grabbing market manipulating bullshit trip from Microsoft once again.....

      Open Source.... Linux Anyone?

  7. Wensleydale Cheese
  8. Scott Mckenzie


    Not sure the Foundation version is a real SBS replacement - 25 user limit is rather restrictive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm

      25 users is the same limit as SBS

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm

        No SBS standard was 75 users or devices.

        Page 8 of the FAQ you provided.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm

          Yes, SBS standard, Microsoft have said they are not continuing standard edition - it hasn't been updated.

          Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the same as Windows SBS Essentials which also had a 25 user limit.

          Thanks for pointing out the omission.

  9. compdoc

    The more you tighten your grip, Microsoft, the more systems will slip through your fingers. ~Princess Leia

    1. Heimdallr

      Are you guys genuinly suggesting that this is squeesing business, $4000 for the datacentre version? That is peanuts to any company. Windows is stil considerably cheaper to run in terms of support, staff etc than any other os. All I see as as SQL Server DBA is the market growing and growing at the expense of Oracle which has become the most hideous bloatware in later versions and is so much harder to administer, typically you need twice as many Oracle DBA's as you do SLQ Server DBA's for the same amount of Databases.

  10. LeedsMonkey

    Going the opposite way to Apple

    While both Apple and Microsoft are ignoring portions of their user base they are going in opposite directions. It appears MS only want the corporate world now ($400 for WHS replacement, are they smoking crack?), while Apple have no interest in this after ditching the X Server platform and having a very strong focus on consumer products.

    How long do we think that it will be before they will do a u-turn out of necessity?

  11. Simon Jones [MSDL]

    Breakeven point between Standard and Datacentre

    I calculated DataCentre edition as 5.45 times the price of Standard ($4800 versus $882) which means DataCentre is cheaper when you have more than 10 VMs on a two Processor box. If you have four processors then you need to buy your WS2012 licences (Standard or DataCentre) in pairs and you would find DataCentre edition cheaper with more than 20 VMs on a single box.

    Also, if you have Windows Server unser Software Assurance and you have more than two processors per box, do an audit and tell Microsoft then they'll give you the number of WS2012 Standard or DataCentre licences you need to cover your current hardware. (Details in the FAQ.) If you don't say anything they will assume 2 processors and only give you one licence for WS 2012. If you're thinking of upgrading your hardware to more processors, do it soon, before Windows Server 2012 ships, so you get the extra licences as part of your SA agreement or it will cost you more to buy the extra licences later.

  12. b166er

    I don't think Microsoft has lost the plot.

    I think it makes much more sense for small businesses to use cloud services than to try and administer a SBS server. Most small businesses I have dealt with using SBS have no on-site support and therefore are paying externally for support. This results in under-maintained SBS machines which also are quite often not configured to use all the advantages of SBS anyway.

    Far better to pay Microsoft via O365 to maintain their SharePoint, Exchange, mail reputation, threat management etc than try to do it themselves or pay peanuts to a support company that will do a half-arsed job.

    For most small businesses, the one critical service is email and if there's an internet outage it makes no difference if it's on-site or cloud Exchange.

    This was a well anticipated move and I'm not in the least surprised.

    There also clearly weren't enough sales of WHS, hence it landing in the bargain bin, so again, no surprise that they've canned it.

    At least admins can now just train for Server itself and let a support company manage the cloud-based services which will be harder for them to fuck up.

    1. Tilting_at_windmills

      "clearly weren't enough sales of WHS"

      Well of course not - once Drive Extender was removed, there was no incentive to pay good money to 'trade up'. I still believe there is a market with peoples growing volume of pictures, movies, mp3 etc for a home server - just MS does not understand how to address it.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Microsoft's cloud services don't make sense to SMEs. Past a small handful of users, O365 costs more/year than buying a standalone product for a standard 3-year refresh cycle. (Hardware included!) Not only that, as I pointed out in an earlier article, you still need to be an exchange admin to use O365.

      What does O365 get you besides less money in your pocket and increased sadness?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Thank you Microsoft. You just made pushing Linux that much easier. I was going to focus on cost over time, but hell, last week the team asked about SBS, now I can tell them with a smile that MS got rid of it.

  14. Euripides Pants

    licensing *experience*?!

    We really need to get the marketing weirdos on the B Ark.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, for f**ks sake Register ...

    "Windows Server 2012 delivers a dramatically simplified licensing experience,"

  16. Tezfair
    Thumb Down


    Maybe MS will simply drop servers for the average business and solely concentrate on big enterprise systems leaving the average joe to run their business and home systems via apple products.

    The thought of having my files in the cloud is echoed with my clients, no. Having to run your life though the flaky internet just isn't going to happen. MS needs to realise that the rest of the world is not in the US, does not have super fast cable and hardware is cheap.

    I think this is the start of the end of many 'generalists' of which I imagine most of us readers are.

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