It has often been argued that Microsoft’s dominance in the software world might be attributed to their aggressive marketing strategy and laissez-faire approach to licensing.
- We’ll give Microsoft Office to Schools for peanuts – the kids will grow up using it.
- Developing countries have ridiculously high levels of piracy for our software – but not to worry, we’ll turn a blind eye to it and wait until their businesses depend on our software and their economies develop – we’ll collect the cash later.
- Enterprise IT Managers are under pressure to deliver our software to busy users. We’ll give them an all you can eat license key and a free scatter-gun in the form of Microsoft SMS / SCCM in which to deploy across the network – we’ll collect the cash later (and also charge you for figuring out the bill).
This model is under pressure from the likes of internet giant Google and successful SaaS competitors like Salesforce who are eating into their dominant position in enterprise IT. Rich enterprise grade applications delivered via the internet. No upgrades, no hardware, no licensing headaches.
To address this trend Microsoft received approval for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office detailing technology to meter software use and access to specific computer hardware.
The abstract reads;
“A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected. The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed. An administrator may use a similar user interface to set performance levels for each computer in a network, allowing performance and cost to be set according to a user’s requirements.”
Does this spell the end of license management as we know it? Surely IT Managers would prefer to pay slightly extra safe in the knowledge they don’t need to worry about troublesome licensing programs?
What are your thoughts? Will this fly?
About Martin Thompson
Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.
On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.
Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.