back to article Microsoft among software titans under spotlight for restrictive licensing

Campaign group the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing (CFSL) has launched in the US to tackle the "restrictive terms" and anticompetitive business practices that "lock-in" customers and "impedes" a move to the cloud. The group is spearheaded by Ryan Triplette, executive director, who started consultancy Canary Global …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Ah yes, this reminds me of another reason we have ended up with practically no Windows machines in our organisation.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Windows, how retro is that?

      I think I recall my gradfather using that OS for his personal computer.

      I suppose the world moves on.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        A quote from the SF novel Flashforward. (published 1/1/1999)

        "Bill Gates lost his fortune: Microsoft stock tumbled badly in 2027, in response to a new version of the Year-2000 crisis. "

        Chapter 7, Page 158

        Another good one from the same chapter...

        "“Donald Trump was building a pyramid in the Nevada desert to house his eventual remains. When done, it will be ten meters taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza.” "

        He also predicted the Queen would die aged 91, Charles would be "mad as a loon" and decline the throne in favour of William, who refused it leading to the dissolution of the monarchy.

        So, two out of three wrong, still waiting to see what happens to MS.

        (FWIW, the given reason for the MS failure is dates being in 32-bit storage in "old" s/w leading the the problems, so I suppose that has been sorted with 64-bit versions of the OS. Maybe)

  2. Lorribot

    No surprises

    C-level execs reading licencing terms, seems a tad improbable to me. Most Licencing managers don't read them as they are too impenetrable and convoluted and most have terminology that means something different to what you understand. What is even worse if you ask a software vendor if something is allowed they will say read the licence, its like they don't even understand their own licencing or at least not confident they wouldn't tell you something untrue.

    Then there is those that get with decent simple licencing and then once you are locked in change the terms to be more favourable to them.

    It is also support contracts for software that is Open source, Red Hat is not particularly nice.

    Then there is anything owned by Oracle like Java, you have licenced this in your environment as it came bundled in with some other software you bought and some dev thought it was free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No surprises

      If you want to scare them, start digging into thge Intellectual Property ownership statements inside the Google Terms.

      I tend to use an extract when I train at that level and ask the execs if they would ever agree to a license like this. Especially the ones tasked with IP management will immediately say "no" and turn quite green when I zoom out and show they already have.

      Yes, it's a tad evil, but to get people out of dangerous habits you do need to shake them up.

    2. Shalghar

      And nearly everyone does this, one way or another

      Even in the netherworld of mobile games, bait and switch (or mutate and lock in) is a rotten standard. Apps that suddenly need and enforce perma online connection while being perfectly offline capable before are sadly not limited to games, though.

      Apps that after months of useage suddenly change their T&C to forced online or even pay to use are nothing uncommon. And why wouldnt world and dog go the path of lock in and coercion with customers data as hostage ? Obviously that works and sadly even more obviously it does not seem to be illegal to suddenly change any agreement darth vader style in a one sided way (and pray that i do not alter this agreement even further).

      So after the fun and games period, whenever a customer is trusting and dumb enough to believe that a "permanent" license is indeed permanent, the online license (AKA: remote controlled self destruct) backdoor is slammed shut and you are left alone with only bad or suicidal options at your disposal. Give in to the coercion or lose almost everything that you falsely considered "your" data.

  3. Peter-Waterman1

    AWS controls 33% market share of the cloud, Azure 21% and GCP with 8%. 90% of larger (10,000 plus employees) enterprise customers use these cloud providers. Companies, who have paid for expensive Microsoft licences, should be free to use these licences in what ever cloud they see fit. Instead, customers who dont want to use Azure, are forced to repurchase licences from Microsoft on a pay as you go model which doesnt make a lot of business sense for static workloads.

    We are talking billions in additonal revenue for Microsoft, not just in licencing, but by manipulating customers who want to use cloud, to go to Azure. Yet, somehow, they cant catch up with Amazon, which says a lot IMO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Much as I like to hate on MS, I don't really see why they should be compelled to enable a dominant competitors business model, and why they shouldn't offer a better price when you spend your cloud money within MS.

      Amazon's cloud business is largely predicated on using open source software to create the value, without paying for it, and it beggars the open source developers who have had to make a pact with the devil. Why would MS let them do the same when they don't have to?

      1. Peter-Waterman1

        Of course, Msft can offer discounts to customers on Azure, But then shouldnt prevent customers who have already paid for licences taking them to a cloud that is not Azure.

        Re Open source, this is off-topic, this article is about Msft licencing bad practices, and you say that's ok because amazon is doing something wrong with open source. Besides that, Microsoft uses open source in many of its Azure products.

  4. trevorde Silver badge

    Meanwhile at Oracle...

    [Larry Ellison] BWAH HA HA HA HA!

    [goes back to looking a super yacht catalog]

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile at Oracle...

      I wonder if the super yacht catalog only works on Edge on Windows ;)

  5. 43300 Silver badge

    It applies the other way round too in some cases - thinking particularly that the licensing doesn't allow Azure Virtual Desktop to be run on-prem unless using Azure Stack HCI as the hypervisor. And they are in the process of crippling the terminal server usability in Windows Server (the Office 365 apps are not supported on Server 2022), thereby rendering it increasingly difficult to run session-based remote access on-prem.

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