How many of your employees have iPads? Do they ever bring them to the office? Microsoft’s 2011-2012 version of its Enterprise Agreement broadens language in concerning ways. Software Licensing Advisors believes these new agreements, advertised as a necessary update in order to modernize the agreement to include cloud service coverage, instead substantially broadens companies exposure and potentially requires them to report and pay for non-pc devices, that may not even be purchased by the organization, to Microsoft.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) are terms getting thrown around all the time. iPads, iPhones, Android devices are prevalent in the workplace and personally owned by employees. The new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement suggests that, if these devices are accessing your companies data, you need to count them, too, in addition to your Desktops! It’s the alteration of one little D-word that makes all of the Difference; “Device” versus “Desktop.”
“Of most significance are the definitions themselves which dictate “what” you are counting. In the 2009 contract, if you were to license Office and/or the Desktop OS, you were counting Qualified Desktops. In the 2011 contract, you are counting “Qualified Devices.” Microsoft also expanded on the definition of what constitutes a Qualified User …” (page 7, “Exploring Microsoft’s Updated Enterprise Agreement” – Gartner Research)
Gartner goes on to say that some of their clients are being told they must license iPads and/or smartphones for Office purposes, even if they will not be accessing Office.
If an employee buys their own iPad and uses it off-site for work, they could leverage Roaming Rights to access a Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD) or use MS Office from a server running Remote Desktop Services (RDS). However, if they bring their iPad onto the premises “for the benefit of the enrolled affiliate” (you mean…for the benefit of our company? er… to do work stuff? Yes.) Then, that device would need to be counted under the new Qualified Device definition.
Whoa! Hold on…, I’d have to true-up my employee’s iPads accessing company resources in the office? Yep!
SLA believes this sets the foundation for Microsoft to offer a nice little alternative for you. If you toss those iPads and ditch those Droids, you can use your brand new Microsoft Surface device with Desktop and Hosted Virtual Environments without any worry.
In a recent Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal article, our own Paul DeGroot is quoted, “A coming nightmare scenario for many organizations will be the day that Microsoft asks them how many of their employees access email or work documents from their smartphones or iPads,” (see: Microsoft Surface Sets Up CIOs for ‘Giant Compliance Penalty’)
But, shouldn’t your company and your employees be able to choose the device and interface that they prefer? Dare I use the term, “Anticompetitive” or “Tying“? (see United States v. Microsoft) Well, when you’re that behind the eight ball in innovation (see “How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo“), a strong-arm tactic might be the best way to secure a couple of percentage share points (get it?…SharePoint…) for tablets in the marketplace, albeit with some rather forced and annoyed customers.
SLA thinks that this subtle language in the 2011 Enterprise Agreement sets the stage for attempting to drive competing tablets out of your enterprise with what looks like a gun to your head. Keep your companies and your employees freedom to choose alive; isn’t that what Bring Your OWN Device is about?… not Bring Your MICROSOFT Surface Device? We’ll be offering ongoing coverage of this and other aspects of pricing, contract and product changes.
Call Software Licensing Advisors at 1-866-825-3787 to help you negotiate your next Microsoft Agreement with confidence and avoid costly potential future traps like this one.