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Microsoft: Virtualization Obstructor

Earlier this week, I mentioned Microsoft's recent announcements as evidence of Redmond's goal to spur desktop virtualization.

Seems I spoke too soon. Email from Microsoft detailing its new virtualizaton licensing prices got me to reconsider my statement. Microsoft is interested in virtualization of all kinds, but strictly on its own terms.

To explain, let me first itemize the key points of Microsoft's revised pricing of virtual machines:

  • Microsoft's Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD), announced April 2007, had an estimated retail price per subscription of $78/year per rich client license.
  • VECD now costs $23/year per rich client.
  • VECD requires Software Assurance for Windows Client.

Software Assurance licensing is the key here. Software Assurance, whereby a company pays annually for a specified range of client licenses, is known to be more costly than traditional enterprise licensing, even though Microsoft refuses to give any examples of its pricing.

At least one analyst notes that even though Microsoft offers extra management software with the premium license, it's not the way a lot of companies want to pay for virtual clients.

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