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Gartner: Microsoft Should Pay For Vista's Anti-Piracy Hassles

Enterprises should demand compensation for implementing new product validation and activation schemes baked into Windows Vista.
"What's interesting is the visceral reaction people start to have when they hear about this, and think about how much work they have to do," said Silver. To reduce the backlash, Microsoft should have offered up more carrots.

In lieu of that, said Silver, enterprise customers should lobby Microsoft for additional perks to help defray the cost of administering the new activation and validation program.

"Microsoft could produce some sort of enterprise KMS appliance," Silver said.

Neither Silver nor another analyst, Michael Cherry of Redmond, Wash.-based Directions On Microsoft, however, believe that Volume License Activation, burden and all, will have much of an impact on Vista deployment.

"It may slow it down, but it won't be a bid deal by the time of deployment," said Silver, who said it would take 12-18 months for enterprises to begin rolling out Vista to their workstations. "By that time the bugs will be worked out."

Cherry agreed. "I don't think [activation] is unreasonable. Microsoft has a right to protect its products."

But Cherry would like to see some changes to the program, too. "I'd like to know where I sit in terms of my licenses. I want to buy exactly what I need, no more and no less." For that reason, he thinks Microsoft should tie volume licensing pricing and monitoring with Volume License Activation. "Both sides' needs must be met," he said. "Microsoft should provide [the customer] with an inventory of all the licenses in an organization."

One thing that he's sure of is that the program will change. "As this evolves, we'll see it adjusted. Piracy is like security, with back and forth between the two sides. I'd like to see this evolve into a complete picture of licensing in terms of legitimacy, how many licenses are necessary and available. That would give something to both [Microsoft and enterprises]."