One of the largest selling points of Xserve is that Apple, unlike Microsoftis server offerings, does not charge a premium license fee for user-server usage. That policy has no doubt worried Microsoft to no end, especially since many of Microsoftis customers are revolting over license fees.
C|Net is reporting that Microsoft is about to change its licensing policies for the next generation of its server platform, .Net Server 2003. According to the article, titled Microsoft to amend .Net Server licensing, Microsoft intends to offer a new option in its client-access license policies. That new option will allow companies to purchase per-user client-access licenses (CALs), rather than the current per-machine license. There are other changes too. From the C|Net article:
Starting with Windows .Net Server 2003, which is slated for release in April, businesses also will have the option of purchasing CALs per user, rather than just per machine.
Other licensing tweaks to be announced Monday include changes to licensing for terminal services--that is, methods for accessing Windows desktop and server applications through terminal emulation--and access to a Web server over the Internet, a Microsoft representative said.
In other words, companies could purchase licenses for, say, 10 users, and have that work across two or more .Net Server. Currently, CALs have to be purchased for each machine, regardless of the redundancy. This change only effects .Net Server 2003, and the above mentioned terminal access licensing.
The article reports that analysts are mixed over whether or not this is a good thing. Some welcome the new policy because many businesses would save money by operating their servers on a per-use basis. Other analysts see that some businesses would lose out on the new plan because they have several people who use the same computer.
Stop by C|Net and check out the full article.