Microsoft listens to users on Terminal Server pricing

Microsoft, bowing to consumer pressure, has re-thought its approach to licensing thin client systems, and the cost savings could be considerable.

The move comes in response to criticism from users and resellers that Microsoft’s terms for Windows Terminal Server (WTS) were expensive and inconsistent, admitted John Frederiksen, US group product manager for Windows NT.

The main difference in the new licensing system is that customers are no longer required to pay for a Windows NT workstation licence for each WTS client. Instead, Microsoft has announced a new WTS client access licence (CAL). Users must still use a separate Windows NT server CAL, Frederiksen said.

The net result is that users should pay around half the amount they currently pay for each Windows client. The new CAL is due to ship in the US on February 1, although an announcement on local availability has yet to be made.

While WTS was originally targeted at enterprise-level customers, it is also proving popular with small to medium enterprise (SME) users. Microsoft will better target this niche group with, for 5-, 10- and 15-user CAL packages in the next few months.

Interestingly, in the US the WTS is also eligible to be licensed under Microsoft’s work-at-home agreement, where corporate customers can purchase second copies of products for employees to use at home for significantly reduced costs. An announcement on New Zealand availability will be made when corporate marketing manager Guy Haycock returns from the US early this week.

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