Microsoft Targets Growing Mobile Workforce With 15% Hike In Corporate User Licensing Fees

Microsoft is targeting the growing mobile workforce with a 15 percent hike in license fees directed primarily at companies that have employees who use smartphones and other mobile devices in their work.

According to Mary Jo Foley, the new licensing agreement goes into effect December 1 for customers with the user option for its “client access licenses” (CAL). The User CAL is meant for companies that have employees who use iPhones, iPads, tablets and other devices. As more people bring their own devices to work, the User CAL has become increasingly popular. The other option is a Device CAL, which allows multiple people to access one device such as a PC at a nurse’s station.

Until now, the licensing costs have been the same for User and Device CALs. As of December 1, the following products will be affected by the licensing fee increase to the User CAL:

  • Bing Maps Server CAL
  • Core CAL Suite
  • Enterprise CAL Suite
  • Exchange Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
  • Lync Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
  • Project Server CAL
  • SharePoint Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
  • System Center 2012 Client Management Suite
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Endpoint Protection
  • Visual Studio TFS CAL
  • Windows Multipoint Server CAL
  • Windows Server CAL
  • Windows Server RDS, RMS, Terminal Services CAL

According to the SoftCat blog, “customers that operate the User CAL model with multi-year contract-based Microsoft volume licence agreements (such as an Enterprise Agreement [EA], Enterprise Subscription, Open Value Subscription and Open Value Perpetual) will retain their pre-negotiated pricing until the end of their current contract term.”

Under the new terms, pretty much any customer will face the increases when renewing or buying a new license.

How to deal with this licensing change? There are a number of options, but IT provider Shi says in a blog post that there are three things to consider. IT needs to think about the number of devices on the network, how many to expect that will go on in the future and how simple to make it for employees to just get their work done.

It’s clear that Microsoft sees a huge new revenue source with mobile devices entering the workforce. Other vendors are sure to follow suit with licensing. It all poses a vexing challenge and raises the question about what vendors to work with going forward. With licensing hikes like these, it will pay to shop around.