Does Moore’s Law Apply To People?

So Microsoft is changing the way they license users. Interesting to see that perhaps the balance of power has returned to the users.

Software licensing has always been a strange animal. I recall well my days as an IT integrator and Managed Service Provider when I had to figure out the arcane licensing for enterprise software. First it was licensing by server. As Moore’s Law progressed and servers got more powerful, enterprise software vendors started to license by CPU. The steady march of server power increased to multi-core processors, so licensing had to change, again. And, of course, not every processor was created equal. There was a pricing multiplier based on chip: Intel, Sparq, IBM. Here is an “Oracle Processor Core Factor Table” from 2009. Sounds crazy.

In all that time the focus was generally on the ever increasing power of computers. The tide has shifted. Microsoft raised the price of user client-access licenses (CALs) by 15% on December 1st, while keeping device CAL prices the same.

“These CAL changes include a user-based option that offers more value in support across unlimited devices and simplifies licensing management and compliance as devices in the workplace proliferate.”

Where once the bigger concern was multiple users on a single device (most likely a desktop), the focus is now on multiple devices per user. It’s a trend. For regular use I have two desktops, a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone. How many devices do you have?

It used to be as computers got more powerful, that was grounds to increase licensing. Now it’s people who are getting more powerful which will certainly lead to more twists and turns in enterprise software licensing.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. 

(Photo credit: Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting)

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