back to article Microsoft turns the power of fine print onto enterprise licensing

New wording in Microsoft’s enterprise licensing agreements could see customers forced to pay more to Redmond while simultaneously jumping through new licensing hoops. Microsoft has re-worked the fine print of the Enterprise Agreement (EA) in a way that confers greater power on its licensing agents to interpret the rules. It …

  1. N2


    It exerts greater pressure on those with stretched budgets to look elsewhere.

    1. Angry clown

      @n@ - Re: Also

      In case you didn't know by now, Microsoft is poisoning you only once. Then all they do is selling you the antidote year after year, it is you begging them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @n@ - Also

        Indeed. I always found the likeness of Ballmer and Baron Harkonnen truly disturbing.

        1. dogged

          Re: @n@ - Also

          I would have gone with Baron Bomburst,

  2. Charles Smith


    Have a Chromebook on your desk when negotiating with Microsoft on licences.

    1. Fungus Bob

      Re: Chromebook that's why Chromebook sales are up

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chromebook

      ...And have a manager from one of your user departments strategically "interrupt" the negotiation meeting to say "I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I was wrong when I told you that I was concerned about you putting our desktops on Linux. They've just been rock-solid since we started the trial deployment."

      Then he can turn to the MS/reseller rep and say "Hi, I'm Roy. I haven't seen you around here before. Are you new?"

      (Tough choice between Tux and spawn of Satan icon on this one)

      1. N2

        Re: Chromebook

        Then he can turn to the MS/reseller rep and say "Hi, I'm Roy you know where the door is, so fuck off."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Marketing Hack - Re: Chromebook

        What planet are you from ? When was the last time you saw MS resellers coming at your door and begging you to buy their products ?

        1. Hans 1

          Re: @Marketing Hack - Chromebook

          I guess that for this to happen, size matters ... ;-)

  3. asdf


    Microsoft are still amateurs at this game compared to Larry the Gangster Ellison and his virtual extortion racket.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

    They should create a tool that an enterprise can install onto each client and server that keeps track of all this data. Why should enterprises be forced to seek out and combine multiple third party tools to accomplish this? Apparently they've been taking lessons from Oracle in how to add more and more requirements onto their customers, while simultaneously making it more and more difficult to verify compliance.

    1. asdf

      Re: Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

      Don't a lot of enterprise IT shops already have software installed on each workstation to tell them what's on each computer? Think we do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

      They pretty much do - take a look at VAMT 3.1. Wouldn't take much to get regular "discover" runs scheduled daily and generate diff reports/max usage stats. Bet MS would even be happy to phone home with all the data. Just imagine all the fun you could have waiting for the surprise invoice to show up each month!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

      They should create a tool that an enterprise can install onto each client and server that keeps track of all this data.

      What? And have an extra licence to worry about?

      No, it's much easier and cheaper to employ a small team to sort it out.

    4. Disko

      Re: Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

      They should just ask the NSA for the monitoring data, as a little tit for tat - some info, in exchange (...) for all the backdoor acces.

    5. Canecutter

      Re: Microsoft needs to take responsibility for this

      Yeah. The tool is called System Center Software Asset Manager. Didn't cha know that Microsoft has always sought a way to get more sales of this System Center abomination? Now they have found a way.

      I only have three words in this context:

      "Ernie" "Ball" "Corporation".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    OK, so apparently the NHS is in crisis. I expect ALL normal employees run MS stuff on their desktops.

    Most (90%?) just need bog standard e-mail and document processing of some sort.

    How much does MS cost NHS (and Governments)?

    I bet a few 100,000 odd work stations could run a GNU/Linux platform with no licence fees and save a few hundred million quid that could be funnelled to help patients.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NHS

      What about poor Satya Nadella? Do you want him to have a coronary or something?!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: NHS


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NHS

      Nah, they're all still on XP - that's a different rod shafting them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NHS

      The French Police proved it can work, it just takes someone in procurement with balls to push it through.

  6. Kanhef

    Solution: give them what they ask for

    ...which isn't necessarily what they want.

    Someone takes a work-issued laptop home? That changes the number of licenses on site; notify Microsoft. They bring it back? Notify them again. A device turns off? Arguably, that changes the number of licenses, so notify Microsoft again; same when it turns on. Shouldn't take too long before Microsoft decides to clarify what they mean by "any changes".

    1. Domino

      Re: Solution: give them what they ask for

      Are you sure you want to risk being told you now need extra HOME editions for those laptops?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solution: give them what they ask for

      and don't forget to change your network to use Windows DHCP with a 1m lease, reporting every change. Well, if they can be petty .....

      (Seriously, wtf were they ever doing claiming stuff was using Windows Server simply by getting an IP address from it? Don't know if that ridiculousness is still true but ffs ... )

  7. Captain DaFt

    Conspiracy Theory Time:

    Who has infiltrated Microsoft's licensing dept.?

    Apple? Google? FOSS advocates? The Illuminati?

    Whoever they are, They are cunningly manipulating the system (and the accountants) into driving business customers away from Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conspiracy Theory Time:

      I misread this: "Microsoft’s True Up" as this... "Microsoft's Tits Up". Sadly, that was a misread.

      If you're looking for an answer on who's leading the conspiracy or looking to see if Linux is the answer, I can't help you. But I can tell you that for all your questions, the correct answer will never be "Microsoft".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Captain DaFT - Re: Conspiracy Theory Time:

      Don't underestimate the capacity of medium and large enterprises to withstand abuse from Microsoft.

      Oh, and for your information Microsoft is fully aware of that. I bet that even if they rise the licensing costs with 100% less than 1% of enterprises would react.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "driving business customers away from Microsoft."

    "Who has infiltrated Microsoft's licensing dept.?"


    Is there a term for a "reverse Elop" yet?

    1. JLV

      Re: "driving business customers away from Microsoft."


      I am sure you can imagine such an implement and its afferent effects on certain parts of one's anatomy.

  9. Herby

    I always thought the license agreement was:

    Question: How much is your budget?

    Answer: The license will cost you 110% of that.

    There is a BOFH story here somewhere!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I always thought the license agreement was:

      there's a variant of that which is quite common:

      Question: how much is your project due to cost?

      Answer: it will cost more, and not work

      (c) NHS IT

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is a BOFH story here somewhere

      "There is a BOFH story here somewhere!"

      I'm hoping there's a Trevor Pott story here somewhere.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: There is a BOFH story here somewhere

        Microsoft Licensing and moi? I don't know if Lewis would print something with that much swearing in it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Auditors - where are you?

    If some other critical business resource was subject to subjective interpretation and intrusive and threatening conditions, auditors would flag the issue as a business risk that needed addressing. Astonishing that MS software in particular, or any other FAST affiliate, avoids this.

  11. fishman

    Classic Microsoft

    I keep on reading how Microsoft is changing, becoming more open, more competitive. But that is only true in markets that it is not a monopoly. If somehow Microsoft became the monopolist in phones, tablets, game consoles, etc, they would act just as they have in the past.

  12. Roger Greenwood

    Treating your customers as criminals . . .

    . . by default. Not nice. Not friendly. But it must work or folk would be choosing something else.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Treating your customers as criminals . . .

      Well, it is how governments treat all internet users after all...

  13. P. Lee


    Do you think if MS were doing really well, or if there was any competition, they would load up the customer with new, onerous measures?

    If everyone has inventory & management tools, I'd be rolling out some floss Office software onto every desktop, even if it wasn't given the file associations. It would be worth the disk-space to have it rolled out, just for MS-license negotiation time. You don't need to go the whole way with a linux migration, just threaten to slaughter the Office cash-cow. Pair it with google mail and calendars and

    Its one reason I use linux at home - the proprietary stuff is just too hard and its too expensive. I've got six physical desktops/laptops and servers. I couldn't afford to be an honest MS customer and quite frankly, I don't have the time or the inclination to manage it. Give me back the days of "you may have one execution of this software at a time per license, on any hardware."

  14. David Lawton

    The only reason we still use a lot of Microsoft software is because they give education very cheap licensing, the price businesses have to pay is eye watering, add on top the OS refresh cycles Microsoft push businesses through when all they want is for the applications to run i don't know why more have not moved away. Im guessing they must all be running excel spreadsheets covered in VB code or custom IE6 dependent applications.

  15. Medixstiff

    M$ licensing, the bane of our existance

    Also, it means users will be forced to begin implementing near continuous monitoring of device and license use, an administrative headache.

    We already do this, we got sick and tired of Finance having a go at IT on the one hand and Managers asking for software to be installed "because we have a project for the CEO'

    So with SCCM we run a bi-monthly report on installed M$ apps - luckily we only have 125 users or thereabouts - and a copy is sent to each department manager and the CEO.

    We got the CEO on board because we scared the life out of him, with this little quote from the BSA:

    "Fines up to $467,500 and/or up to five years imprisonment for companies."

    The wording used to be five years imprisonment for directors. It's been a huge win for us, we regularly had managers requesting M$ Project, which is probably their most expensive Office application, we went from 60 installs down to 12.

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