I have been following a number of different conversations with regards to the changes in the licensing scheme for the Action Pack XP Pro and Vista Business operating systems.
There is David Overton's Blog here, and here.
Another, is on Susan Bradley's Blog here, and here.
And, yet another, is on the Microsoft Small Business Community Blog (US) here, and here.
A transcript of the Q & A Webcast that happened with Eric and Tram of the MSBS Community can be found here at Tim Barrett's Blog. Pretty scary in some cases, so brace yourselves! :D
Here is David Schrag's take on it ... he even went so far as to create a MAPS wiki!
And, on Microsoft's Partner Portal, the actual Webinar explaining the whole thing here.
As I understand it, the new licensing scheme indicates that the desktop operating systems are licensed as upgrade versions.
I believe this to be a terrible move on Microsoft's part.
Because, we relied heavily on our Action Pack when we first started out!
Can you imagine what it would be like for a start up IT company that supported Microsoft's products to have to pay outright for their products? Or, for a one man/woman shop to have to fork out that kind of coin in the first couple of years? YIKES!
That to me, contravenes the spirit of the Action Pack. It is supposed to be there for those of us who resell Microsoft's products. It is NOT a way to get "FREE" or "CHEAP" Microsoft software! It is supposed to be there for us to learn Microsoft's products so that we can facilitate a better Microsoft Product Experience for our clients!
It is our knowledge, our expertise, that enables us to provide a stable network infrastructure based on Microsoft's products. Without that knowledge and expertise, our clients are left with a bitter experience of both the IT company that came in to do the work, and the Microsoft products that seemingly did not work!
The Action Pack gives us the ability to, "Walk the Talk".
After four years in business, we are now in the position to purchase some of the software we need. We are doing that through retail licenses for XP Pro (almost gone), and Vista Business. We then tack on Software Assurance for desktop operating systems.
We are utilizing the Open Value Licensing scheme to spread our software license purchase payments over three years. It makes the most sense for us, and extends our SA agreement to three years versus the two for the upfront SA purchaser.
For those companies that can afford it, those a little further down the trail to sustainability, Open Value Licensing with Software Assurance is the way to go. Check into it.
Most importantly of all ... stay legit ... and know how to!
Microsoft Small Business Specialists