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Licensing has often been one of the most complicated parts of doing business with Microsoft. I know I enjoyed many sleepless nights going over Microsoft licensing scenarios in my head, over and over. It was even worse when I was attempting my Microsoft licensing exam a few years ago.

How well do you understand the black magic called Microsoft Licensing?

I recently read a blog post from famous Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley, saying that Microsoft is increasing the cost to purchase client access licenses on December 1, 2012.

Microsoft client access licensing had really focused on two avenues. The first is device licensing where a company purchases licenses and each device on the network is licensed accordingly. This is the perfect licensing solution for a small business or company with workers who share workstations and computers. The second scenario is user licensing, where each user on the network has a client access license and uses multi-devices to access resources on the network.

So what is changing on Dec 1st?

According to Foley and her research, Microsoft is set to increase the cost of user client access licenses (CALs) by 15% on December 1. Device licenses will remain the same. Great, I am not aware of too many companies where device licensing makes sense any longer.

I can see Microsoft’s approach to why a price increase is warranted. More and more users have more than one computer these days. The user CAL allows a single person to use unlimited devices and simplifies license management. True, after all, many MSPs are also moving in this direction, so why wouldn’t Microsoft want to capitalize on the user licensing model?

What products are impacted by this licensing model change?

  • Project Server CAL
  • SharePoint Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
  • System Centre 2012 CMS
  • System Centre Configuration Manager
  • System Centre Endpoint Protection
  • Visual Studio TFS CAL
  • Windows Multipoint Server CAL
  • Windows Server CAL
  • Windows Server RDS, RMS and Terminal Services CAL

So you have four days to get your licensing orders in before the price increase. Foley adds that existing volume license agreements such as Enterprise Agreements, Enterprise Subscriptions, Open Value Subscription, and Open Value Perpetual will have more time. These agreements have until the end of their terms before pricing changes.

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