June 6, 2011 1 Comment
New plans and competitive pricing for SPLA, service providers, and cloud offerings
Nearly eighteen months ago we discussed, in this very blog, some potentially negative results from Microsoft adjusting their SPLA pricing. We took Microsoft to task—rightfully so, we believe—for attacking on the wrong front. At the time it looked like Microsoft was targeting their hosting partners in order to cannibalize the hosting partners’ business. We suggested that Microsoft was missing the point entirely about who are their real competition (Apple, Google, Linux, et al) and the potential impact of cloud computing for the future of IT in general—they should facilitate, not restrict and control.
It wasn’t just us. Microsoft was roundly criticized for that move and—perhaps not surprisingly—both market-share and profits did not appear to accelerate as a result of their change. Well…it seems that the good folks in Redmond listened and learned.
On March 30th, Microsoft announced revisions to their SPLA licensing plan that actually help make Windows hosting more competitive and that do not further punish industry partners who seek to host websites, email, and applications on Windows servers. This story was picked up by the good folks at The WHIR a few days later.
We hesitated to get too excited by all of this up to now because the changes are scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year—so we will see what we will see. But if these changes DO go into effect as planned, it will be a good sign that Microsoft is starting to “get it.” According to Microsoft’s announcement, “These enhancements are referred to as license mobility” and are designed to “… offer customers the flexibility to deploy application servers on-premises of hosted by Service Providers in the Cloud.”
Highlights of the changes include:
- A new, lower price for SLPA licensing plans for service providers
- The ability for license owners to “move” certain licenses off site to third-party hosts—and to move them back without licensing hassles
- The creation of a new Core Infrastructure Suite in SPLA to facilitate the delivery of Infrastructure-as-a Service offerings (IaaS)
- A reduction in Subscriber Access licensing costs (increased competitiveness in shared application hosting)
- Deletion of the Windows Server Outsourcing product and its higher price points
We think that it is too early to say that Microsoft has seen the light fully. Those of us who develop applications for the Windows platform—even those applications that compete directly with specific Microsoft products—ultimately help Microsoft expand its base. Furthermore, hosting/service providers are not entrapped serfs to squeeze extra profits from—they are partners in business and when your partners win, you win too. Ultimately we all help Microsoft to compete with the Apple, Google, and Facebook’s of the world.
That said, this is a great move by Microsoft and they are due a bit of credit for starting to (belatedly) recognize us all as the opportunity we are.
This post was written by Jeff H., vice-president of business operations for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.