Microsoft scrambles to simplify its licensing

The effort to streamline licensing is incomplete

Office 365 competes against Google Apps, which in terms of licensing and bundling options is the polar opposite -- a study in simplicity and clarity.

It's not a coincidence that there are many independent professionals, boutique firms and teams within larger partner and reseller companies that specialize in helping businesses understand their Microsoft licensing needs and options so that they don't overpay for and under-use the products they buy.

"Involving the experts is a good investment," Jones said.

Jones isn't convinced that the MPSA will remediate enough of these issues to truly transform Microsoft licensing and make it drastically simpler.

"There will still be the complexity of different product teams inventing their own ways to handle common problems and using similar terms to mean different things from each other," he said. "And they'll still be propping up obsolete concepts such as 'qualifying device' with complex rules trying vainly to cover every conceivable situation."

mslicensingchart-600.jpgImage credit: Kathleen Keough
A comparison of Microsoft's current Select Plus licensing plan and its replacement, the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement.
See full-size image

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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