Microsoft Doubles Cost of Windows

07-31-00 - Companies that "image" Windows on new computers (most larger companies) must pay twice - and more for support too.

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Unable to simply double the price of Windows with the DOJ watching, Microsoft has once again "updated" license terms to milk more revenue from its customers.

Most larger companies, hard hit by the high cost of supporting Windows, have resorted to "imaging" hard disks. A standard image is created that works well for a particular model of computer and includes all the company's approved applications. When a new computer is purchased, it's hard disk is wiped clean and the image is applied so it is exactly the same as other computers known to work properly. When Windows takes a crap, it is just re-imaged.

To use images, Microsoft requires purchase of the "Select" program, which includes a Windows CD-ROM that supports imaging. Since each computer purchased comes with a Windows license, and the image included the exact same version of Windows, companies considered themselves properly licensed.

Now, Microsoft says NO! The licenses that come with the computer are OEM Windows licenses, and Select is a Microsoft license. If you image a machine, you are pirating Windows because you don't have a Microsoft licnese for that machine, and you are imaging it with a Microsoft Select Windows.

Now, to be legal, you must also buy Upgrade Advantage (about $150 per computer). Of course, you have voided the OEM license, so you can't get tech support from the OEM - nor does support come with Select or UA. To get support you must purchase it at the special corporate rate of $375 per incident.

More information can be found at Gartner Group.

Previous moves to milk more from each Windows purchase without increasing the price of Microsoft products include:

  • Canceling concurrent licensing. Previously, if you had 20 users and only 10 using a particular program at one time, you needed only 10 licenses. Now you need a license for each and every person who could use the program.
  • Forbidding computer manufacturers with a Windows OEM license from shipping a Windows CD with their equipment. They can only ship a recovery disk locked to the exact model. If you upgrade your computer, or your hard disk fails, you have to pay for another copy of Windows ($89 to $179). See our news item No more CD-ROMs for details.
  • Forbidding transfer of the Windows license when you sell or give away your computer. If you give your computer to a charity, they must wipe Windows and all other Microsoft software off, even though you got a new Windows with your new computer and aren't using the old one any more. Any charity which sells used computers with Windows on them will be sued by Microsoft. The new owner must buy retail Windows at $179, which is probably more than the computer is worth.
  • Forbidding use of the Windows you got with your old computer on your new computer, even if you have wiped it off the old one. OEM Windows is licensed only for the computer it was shipped with.
  • Forbidding resale of Windows or other Microsoft software. Microsoft monitors on-line auction sites and requires them to remove any Microsoft products from auction even if those products are new and unopened.
  • See also the new policy of "pay for incident" support.

Isn't dealing with a monopoly wonderful?

Will businesses start looking at the many non-Microsoft options available? No. Most will pay any price to be able to say "We have no choice". Primarily new businesses will use other options. Lower costs and more efficient software will allow them to displace the old businesses. It's called "evolution".

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access - www.aaxnet.com - aax@aaxnet.com
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