Microsoft's Software Licensing: Why I've Had Enough
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User Rank: Author
11/25/2013 | 9:35:53 AM
My experience
I'm not involved in our company's licensing of Microsoft software, but a couple of years ago I spent about an hour in Redmond with the Microsoft executive who heads up its licensing. I just wanted to get a broad understanding, but I came out of that meeting more confused than when I went in.
User Rank: Author
11/25/2013 | 9:36:55 AM
MS Licensing: Sounds Like Wireless Carriers
This is an indictment of whoever created the incentive structure for your Microsoft rep. Becuase not only will you not bite with regard to the CRM switch, but you will not spend a cent to send your people to licensing class, is my guess. This reminds me of how the wireless carriers operate: Make contracts so heard to decipher that the average person can't find the best deal. Enterprise is a whole other level of complexity.

When I started reporting about enterprise smartphones, I learned there were consulting companies whose sole purpose was to help enterprise customers revamp their wireless contracts to eliminate wasteful spending. You shouldn't need this type of service to buy from Microsoft.
Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
11/25/2013 | 9:38:08 AM
Question ...
Not being snarky, but why didn't you shut down the CRM presentation in its tracks? Politely, but say, look, this is not what we're here for?
Adam Swidler
Adam Swidler,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2013 | 12:25:28 PM
Shameless Plug for Google
Disclosure - I work for Google

Very entertaining and insightful article. We hear this a lot from Microsoft customers. I encourage you to take a look at Google Apps. We offer a compelling collaboration platform that includes real-time video for $50 per user per year. Straight up and simple. If you are interested, have a look at our services at
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2013 | 12:25:42 PM
Re: My experience
Perhaps you should consider IBM's Sametime. It is available as both a cloud or onsite implementaion, is open, extensiable and reliable. The latest Video capabilities are top notch and enterprise integration is excellent.  
User Rank: Ninja
11/25/2013 | 1:09:55 PM
It is pretty nuts
I made the mistake a little while back of asking "How much will it cost to add another database server?" Long story short, several very sharp folks and myself, half a day later, still could not answer that simple question. Best we came up with was a price range. a rather broad one.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2013 | 2:10:43 PM
Re: It is pretty nuts
We had the same issue but needed to add a large number of databases. We found PostGres performs as well as Microsoft SQL server and is free. Table partitioning and "Enterprise only" feature - is built in to Post Gres for example... 
User Rank: Strategist
11/25/2013 | 2:21:03 PM
Dealing with a Monopolist
Microsoft has you over a barrel until you decide to walk away. Google is certainly one option. For servers and various applications using open source is also a better way to go.

If you've really had enough, walk away!
IW Pick
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2013 | 6:07:59 PM
Strategy for handling vendors
A good way to keep vendors on track and to break thru the deliberate obfuscation is to schedule 2 or 3 vendors on the same day.  Make it clear that you are talking to all three.  Makeit clear to the rep and his boss that you only have money to spend on voice and video this year.  Tell the rep they have two hours to address your needs, remind them every half hour how much time they have, and usher them out right on the dot.  If they choose to talk about CRM when you want to hear about integrated voice and video conclude the meeting with "That was very interesting and we're looking forward to hearing what Google has to say about our problems".  


Follow that up with a note to the district manager cc'ing the Head of Sales that your rep wasted two hours of your time.   


Oh - and keep posting items like this! :)

John McGreavy
John McGreavy,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2013 | 9:00:02 PM
Re: Question ...
Lorna, you ask a good question about the runaway Microsoft presentation.   I could have stepped in, but how would that have looked?  I'm the CIO of the company and I arranged for the session.  If I can't control a simple vendor session, what message does that send?  Definitely a judgement call, but effectiveness is a careful balance of executation and perception.  I let the CRM thing run its course, but I was steamed!
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