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By | Paul Kunert 18th October 2012 12:44

Microsoft plans big licencing price hikes, shifting to per-Device model

Merry Christmas you turkeys

Microsoft is planning to spread a unique brand of festive cheer before Christmas by bumping up the price of Client Accessing Licenses (CAL).

Customers have two options when considering a CAL: the User CAL gives an individual user server client access for an unlimited number of devices; the Device CAL provides access to a single device for an unlimited amount of users.

Traditionally both options cost the same but from 1 December, Microsoft will be hiking the list price of the User CAL by 15 per cent, Large Account Reseller Softcat has confirmed.

"Microsoft is making this change in response to the increasing value of user based licensing over the single device licensing model," said Softcat.

Some hard-bitten Microsoft channel partners pointed out that with more people using multiple devices, the vendor has simply identified a way to "make more money".

Fourteen products will be impacted by this rise including Core and Enterprise CAL Suite, Project Server CAL, and Windows Multipoint Server CAL.

Public sector customers will not be hit in the pocket but the User CAL rise will be a tough sell to commercial customers - it comes months after Redmond aligned EU pricing on volume licenses to the Euro which saw some prices go up by 25.9 per cent.

Customers can of course avoid the December price rise by prematurely renewing their current multi-year agreement such as EAs or Enterprise Subscriptions before the deadline.

Indeed the timing timing of the rise is interesting, say sources, coming into effect as Microsoft nears its half year, potentially boosting the firm's coffers.

In a statement, Microsoft said it notified partners of the changes to allow them to give customers prior warning of their "options" before the 1 December D-day.

"These CAL changes include a user-based option that offers more value in support across unlimited devices and simplifies licensing management and compliance as devices in the workplace proliferate," stated Microsoft. ®

"Pricing for user CALs will change to reflect the increased value. Customers should work with their Microsoft partner or account team to assess their options," the vendor added.

Microsoft was not available to respond to specific questions at the time of writing. ®

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