Microsoft's Licensing Model (sigh)

Written by Richard Lowe

One of my biggest, most important responsibilities in my day job is ensuring that we have purchased all ofrepparttar software licenses that we require. It's my job to ensure that we are 100% legal at all times - which fulfills one of our corporate goals to be a completely ethical company.

Most companies make it very simply for me and my staff. If I want to license Norton Antivirus, all I need to do is countrepparttar 133590 number of machines on whichrepparttar 133591 product is to be installed, write up a purchase order and callrepparttar 133592 salesperson to orderrepparttar 133593 product. It worksrepparttar 133594 same with Conversion Plus, Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, WinZIP and any ofrepparttar 133595 other hundreds of products that we require to keep our company in business.

You would think that Microsoft would want to make it easy for people like me to give them money. I know that if I were in their shoes that's what I would do.

I should stop for a minute and explain that I love many Microsoft products. Windows 2000 (server and professional) are very solid, well-thought-out operating systems, andrepparttar 133596 Office 2000 suite is easilyrepparttar 133597 best inrepparttar 133598 industry. Internet Explorer is far superior to Netscape and has been for several years now, and Visio 2000 is one ofrepparttar 133599 most versatile flowcharting tools available anywhere.

Unfortunately, purchasing and licensing Microsoft products is nowhere near as pleasurable as using their office suite. My god, they make it so difficult to purchase licenses that I've often considered (especially recently) switchingrepparttar 133600 entire company to Unix and WordPerfect just to simplify my life.

Okay, let's takerepparttar 133601 Office suite of products. In a sane world, you would do this one of three ways:

- You could just buy everything (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and so on)

- You could purchaserepparttar 133602 "base" kit, then purchase additional licenses forrepparttar 133603 pieces that you needed. For example, spend $75 onrepparttar 133604 base, then add $40 for Word, and perhaps $10 for PowerPoint, and then don't purchase Access. This could all be done with a licensing key.

- Just purchase each piece separately.

Naturally, Microsoft didn't choose any of these methods. What you have instead is a number of "suites", each a different mix of products. For example, if you just need Word and Excel, you could purchase Office Standard. If, onrepparttar 133605 other hand, you also need Access, then you need to purchase Office Premium. To make matters even worse, depending upon how many of each product you want to purchase you can use different discount scales.

It's enough to make one pull his hair out in frustration. But wait, it gets even worse withrepparttar 133606 operating systems. You want Windows 2000 server, then you need to purchase a license forrepparttar 133607 server, a license for each workstation (Windows 2000 Professional) and a Client Access License (CAL) for each workstation that needs to access a server. And, of course, depending upon how many of each you buy you get a different discount scale.

Oh, we're not finished yet. You also haverepparttar 133608 choice of ordering Backoffice, which contains many ofrepparttar 133609 server products sold by Microsoft. It may (or may not) be cheaper to get one Backoffice license than, say, an Exchange license, a SQL license and a Windows 2000 server license. Then you've got to remember if you purchase Backoffice orrepparttar 133610 separate products for your server in order to purchase either Backoffice CALs orrepparttar 133611 individual CALs for each product. And, of course, each product has it's own discount scale depending upon how many you purchase.

Real Life Internet Evil: Microsoft's Smart Tags

Written by Richard Lowe

Our purpose with this series is to use real life examples of deception, fraud and other evil to show how you can better protect yourself. The examples cited in these articles are intended to demonstrate best practices and recommendations.

You've worked hard on your web pages. If you are anything like me, you've spent countless hours writing content, finding or creating graphics, cursing at tables, juggling lists and learning HTML and possibly even CSS, Java, DHTML and countless other things.

My web site is uniquely mine. It is a product of my imagination, my sweat, my brain and my frustration. I have spent many sleepless nights and countless long days adding justrepparttar perfect content to communicate exactly what I wanted to say.

Now Microsoft has come along with a "brilliant" idea. They want to piggyback their own selected content on top of that work. The idea is to have their products (such as Internet Explorer andrepparttar 133589 Office suite) scan web pages and documents for keywords and phrases known torepparttar 133590 Microsoft. Any of these that are found would be underlined with a special purple "squiggle" to show that they are "smart tags".

Anyone viewingrepparttar 133591 page could then click onrepparttar 133592 smart tag and be transported to a Microsoft web site for more information. For example, you could write a web page aboutrepparttar 133593 Grand Canyon, andrepparttar 133594 phrase "Grand Canyon" could be underlined, allowing your visitors to check outrepparttar 133595 Expedia.Com page about how to book travel torepparttar 133596 area.

Why does Microsoft want to do this? It's really very simple - to make an incredible amount of money. Look at it this way, Microsoft suddenly would have at their disposal every single document viewed with a new Microsoft product as a potential advertisement. Wow. That's power. No, this is an understatement of incredible magnitude. This is more than power - this isrepparttar 133597 harnessing of everyone's creative energy into a huge global advertising tool. It totally staggersrepparttar 133598 imagination.

You could be looking at a newspaper site, reading an article about train travel, and click on numerous links to Microsoft sites (and presumably third party sites which paid Microsoft forrepparttar 133599 privilege) selling train related products and services. If you read a classified ad on that same newspaper site selling an automobile,repparttar 133600 word "Cadillac" could be underlined with a smart tag linking to a Cadillac dealer.

Content (the tags) are added dynamically to web pages byrepparttar 133601 browser withoutrepparttar 133602 permission ofrepparttar 133603 person who createdrepparttar 133604 pages (the webmaster or author). While strictly speaking this might not violate copyright laws (but it might be considered vandalism), it sure is rude. In fact, most people would consider it highly unethical.

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