Microsoft moves to per-processor pricing

In what users and analysts consider an overdue move, Microsoft is to offer per-processor pricing for some of its upcoming server products, including SQL Server 2000.

          In what users and analysts consider an overdue move, Microsoft is to offer per-processor pricing for some of its upcoming server products, including SQL Server 2000.

          Microsoft has traditionally priced its server products on a per-seat basis, requiring corporate customers to track their usage of the software and buy additional Client Access Licenses when needed.

          Per-seat licensing made sense when there was a fixed number of people in the enterprise, said Joe Clabby, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston. Internet computing makes that model difficult because it’s often impossible to know how many people are accessing an application.

          With per-seat licensing, users often didn’t know if they were in compliance, said Barry Goffe, group manager for Windows DNA at Microsoft.

          Even companies that use the software inside a firewall applaud the new pricing model.

          “It’s hard to keep track of how many people use a product,” said John Loo, director of systems network engineering at Los Angeles-based network E! Entertainment Television, a subsidiary of Comcast Corp. Per-processor pricing would save a lot of time, said Loo.

          The top-tier database vendors have already moved to per-processor pricing, said Terilyn Palanca, an analyst at Giga Information Group. Microsoft needed to make the same move that Oracle and IBM have made, she said. The new pricing could give users a more predictable price and could help SQL Server gain more credibility, she added.

          The new pricing model will apply to most server products that are a part of Microsoft’s forthcoming DNA 2000 lineup, including SQL Server 2000, BizTalk Server 2000 and Commerce Server 2000. Exchange 2000 will continue to be licensed per seat. Pricing for Windows 2000 Server remains unchanged.

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