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Why is Microsoft licensing so complicated?

ORLANDO, FLA. — Live from the 2013 Gartner Symposium ITxpo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discusses why Microsoft licensing is so complicated. In his tenth and final appearance wearing the CEO hat at the annual event, Ballmer pounced on the query before it even finished leaving the lips of Gartner analyst Tiffani Bova. Not everyone in the audience of IT leaders liked the answer, but in typical Ballmer style, he earned plenty of points for charisma.

Since this is my last [Gartner Symposium ITxpo] Mastermind keynote … let me opine on this topic. What we’ve learned about licensing is that the best thing we can do by and large, most of time, to make it simpler is to not change it. It turns out change is the number one problem with simplicity. The last major change we made — major by my standards — was about 10 years ago. I think we called it “licensing 6.0” and we made virtually every customer mad. They thought all of their prices had risen when that wasn’t even what we could tell our shareholders.

And why did we do licensing 6.0? We wanted to simplify. When we simplify you [the customers] have to go and parse through a number of new alternatives. Sitting here in the year 2013, I don’t look back — and our team is not looking backward — to simplifying licensing; what we’re doing is trying to look forward so that as we add Software as a Service cloud services options we’re not making things more complicated. We are trying to add those things seamlessly and to make sure that when we design our offerings for services that they are simpler to consume and to purchase than our software was.

You could say, “Well, how could cloud services possibly be complicated?” And the answer is, of course they can. If you just look today even at our Office365 pricing, we’ll have customers who say, “I want these two services, but I don’t want these three others.”

So how do we keep our forward view of what to do with services? In a hybrid world of software and services, we will optimize our simplicity gene against that forward-looking services aspect as opposed to trying to retrofit.

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Perhaps we should just drop the term "mainframe" and go with zSeries Servers
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Microsoft intergration will be a major barrier.
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None of the arguments against mainframe technology can hold true
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These arguments are valid in only some cases. For the most part, it is the standard rhetoric used by the large numbers of "modernization" and "migration" companies out there, looking for their next big score...
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Mainframe technology is much more efficient than open systems especially in the storage and processing arena. It is also much easier for full recovery in a DR situation. When looking at overall cost, most companies would see significant savings through use of mainframe; they all need to seriously do the math!
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Mainframes seem to have evolved for the modern age.
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The 1983 PC-XT is a dinosaur and so is the System/370 mainframe
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High security (RACF is still not matched now a days) is something no other vendor has achieved. Windows integration? forget about it, let's work on OSX integration (Windows architecture will be dying soon)
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developers, developers, developers....where are they? Not the 3rd party OS support types like CA and BMC but the apps they connect directly to the end user (being the person with a hand held device)
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The only down side I see is a lack of system programmer experience. While our outsource partners providing mainframe expertise have lost many staff over the years, very few have been replaced.
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:)
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Why is there no option to select "Yes...". When you asked pre-selected questions and list only partial answers you discredit the article that was making some valid points, however, with this approach I must question the validity, and therefor the truth of the statements made herein...
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There is a lack of new, fresh, young talent in Mainframe support groups. The common view is that any business can oursource support to one of the big support vendors and therefore doesn't need to worry about it. WRONG,,, no one will focus on an enterprises issues like an inhouse full time employee.
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Still going strong
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mainf is still undervalued - economies of scale are here dramatic when we know about geometric rise in needs to service big business and cloud.
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For Big Business to be truly secure, they must protect their data with the highest level of security issued. Being Green - consolidate and do it ALL on zEnterprise - Big Data, Cloud, Mobile DB and Transactions.
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Colleges need to re-invent their mainframe classes. Companies cannot 'grow' enough mainframe support personnel from within. The baby-boomer work force represents a high percentage of mainframe support.
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Perception still keep young people away from Mainframe. Tertiary education are still largery Microsoft and Oracle based.
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Yes the XT is a dinosaur and so is the 370. But nobody is using 370 mainframes, they're using z/System mainframes which have about 600 instructions vs. the 160 or so the 370 had. The z/System is a 64-bit mainframe, the 370 was 31 or 24 bit. What a zSystem offers is the ability to still run 370 applications, even 16-bit ones, unmodified and using the same binaries or code base. You can't even run 16-bit Windows applications on 64-bit machines any more. And some 32-bit programs have problems without the WOW interface.
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The mainframe will no doubt remain relevant for the immediate future and even (much) longer term, as it evolves to handle different workloads (Linux vs. traditional) and new business needs (Big Data). Most people often aren't exposed to information regarding what runs the economy (think air travel) behind the scenes. The mainframe plays a bigger part than many realize.
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