Microsoft to kick start April with new licensing scheme

While April 1 is synonymous with pranks and jokes, Microsoft Corp. is not playing the fool with plans to revamp its server software licensing structure.

Designed to reduce the cost of running large, multiprocessor servers for its customers, the new licensing plan will change how the company counts server processors.

In its existing licensing structure, the Redmond, Wash.-based company charges for all processors available in a system, even if a customer only uses a few. With the April 1 change, Microsoft will only charge for the number of processors actually used by the software.

This means that customers with systems that have 16 processors or more will benefit from significant savings, Microsoft said.

The new plan will apply to Microsoft’s Application Center 2000, BizTalk Server 2002, Commerce Server 2002, Content Management Server 2002, Host Integration Server 2000, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000, and SQL Server 2000. The flagship Windows Server operating system will not undergo the licensing changes.

While Microsoft said it plans to offer amended “use rights” for enterprises that already have volume licenses for the eight products affected, the company said it will not issue any refunds or credits.

Recovering from an earlier, controversial licensing scheme called Licensing 5, which effectively raised volume-licensing fees from 33 per cent to 107 per cent according to Gartner, Microsoft intends for the new plan to appeal to more enterprise customers.

For information, visit Microsoft’s Canadian Web site at