Earlier this week, a partner asked Microsoft the following question: If Software Assurance expires on Small Business Server 2003, will the client lose the right to install SBS 2003 on new hardware?
Seems like a simple enough question, right? Wrong. On the Microsoft SMB Community Blog, it takes Microsoft senior manager Eric Ligman nearly 650 words to answer.
First he spells out the differences between license rights and Software Assurance benefits, then he gives a few examples of each, then he provides a link to a chart that shows which Volume Licensing programs provide which Software Assurance benefits, then he talks about adding Software Assurance after making a purchase, and finally he embeds a video about adding Software Assurance to OEM server licenses. Oh, and somewhere in the middle there, he answers the original question. (It’s “no,” if you were wondering.)
Is Microsoft’s licensing really as confusing as it’s made out to be in this post? If so, it sounds like it’s time for an extreme makeover.
The vast majority of Microsoft partners sell several different Microsoft product lines, which only compounds the problems of keeping track of the different licenses, license rights and Software Assurance benefits. They shouldn’t have to consult a chart or go to Microsoft with these types of questions.
Microsoft clearly hasn’t been following the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle lately. If you recall, the names of some Microsoft product lines are tripping at least one partner up as well. If I were Microsoft, I’d make sure that KISS is on my list.