Windows 8 Enterprise License Now Penalizes iPad/Android Users

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Windows 8 Companion Device License

On the verge of launching its next operating system, Microsoft has modified its Windows 8 software licensing agreements to encourage enterprise partners to buy and use ARM-based tablets running Windows RT. The company also made it more expensive for companies that use competing products, such as Apple’s iPad or Android tablets, to access Windows virtual desktops, as noted by CRN

A new volume licensing agreement called Companion Device License (CDL) will give customers rights to access Windows 8 desktops via a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) on up to four personally owned devices. In simplified terms, the CDL allows an employee of a business with Windows 8 volume licensing to use Citrix, VMware, or other remote desktop solutions to access their work desktop from their iPad or Android tablet while on the go or at home. 

In current versions of Windows, there is no device restriction for accessing volume-licensed copies of the operating system. Going forward, organizations migrating to Windows 8 will have to purchase the CDL at added cost, with one exception: organizations with employees using Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 custom-designed for ARM-based tablets, will not have to pay extra for the CDL to access virtual desktops from those devices.

“That’s basically a penalty for not buying a Windows RT tablet,” said Paul DeGroot, principal analyst at Pica Communications, a Microsoft licensing consultancy in Camano Island, Wash.

Erwin Visser, senior director for the Windows Commercial Group, had a different take, writing in a blog post that, “These rights will provide access to a full VDI image running in the datacenter which will make Windows RT a great complementary tablet option for business customers.”

Apple and its iOS devices have dominated the enterprise field in recent quarters, with iPads and iPhones achieving adoption rates significantly higher than those of competing products.

While the market has yet to experience the new hardware that Windows 8 promises, it remains to be seen if Microsoft’s new restrictions for enterprise customers can stem the tide by incentivizing the purchase and use of Windows RT tablets, or if it will further galvanize the market and drive more business to alternative solutions from iOS and Android-friendly software companies.

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So if I understand this right, MS charges a license for people who want to access Win7 and lower on an iPad or Android tablet.  To use that with WIn8 you have to buy a new license.  But they waive the fee for WIn8 tablet users. 

This means companies who upgrade to Win8 have to pay more in licensing fees to keep using iPads, or else they have to buy Win8 tablets and skip the licensing fee.  Either way they are paying for Win8 licenses if they find Win8 sufficiently compelling.  MS is betting a) enterprises will want to upgrade to WIn8, b) enterprises will consider the cost of a WIn8 tablet preferable to the cost of a license fee to use an existing iPad, c) those who aren’t already using iPads will be incentivized to use Win8 tablets instead. 

What’s preventing companies from just taking the wait-and-see position by not upgrading to WIn8, the same way they all skipped Windows Vista?

What percentage of enterprise customers are using this virtual desktop license?

How many corporate IT people are just waiting for the MS tablet and will buy it regardless, so they can get back to all MS?

Anyway, it sounds like a somewhat sneaker way of doing what MS always does with lock-in pricing. (Remember Windows licensing for PC makers who wanted to sell some PCs with Linux.)


I smell Epic Fail.

Just another day in Windows paradise. I get their intention, but their execution is really flawed.


This move sounds like another antitrust lawsuit waiting to happen.


Danged it! I understand a business trying to be competitive by supplying innovated products to consumers in their wants, or needs, or must have?s but MS (Microsoft) is going too far this time.

For instance, what makes MS think they have a right to shutout other companies? privileges and responsibilities to their present, past or future consumers in being competitive by offering other types of products to consumers? Secondly, what about those companies ethical responsibility to the pre-mentioned consumers by standing behind their products and services?

Not to mention countless individuals working for these businesses in staying employed in such a tight economy when one organization thinks they can demand, yes demand, ?This is the way it?s going to be concept when buying and using our product.?

Where?s the competitiveness? The ethical responsibility to consumers, the community, the society, and their employees? when making such an unethical decision choice! Guess they better go back to thinking, cause this plan is not going to work.

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