Ed Brill did something I was surprised at, he posted a reference to what has been a quiet program in the background of IBM for a while now, which I saw in action last January at Lotusphere and heard about a month or 2 prior to that event.
The Project Liberate document Ed linked to and the related website are aimed at helping IBM customers, or anyone in need of it, better understand the Microsoft Enterprise Agreements(EA) and/or Software assurance(SA) value, optimization and reality behind the LICENSING.
It is purely aimed at shedding light on what is a heinous crime by Microsoft in targeting their customers and getting lock in, and in some cases 100% extra fees for Microsoft doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Software Assurance is about getting the next version upgrade "cheaply" among other myths. How many companies do you think bought a 3 year SA or even a 4 year SA between 2000-2004? Did it get them anything? no. Want examples:
Office XP, 2003, 2007? Over 4 years? 100% Microsoft overpayment.
Windows 2000? XP? Vista? Over 4 years? 100% Microsoft overpayment.
Exchange Server 2003, 2007? 4 years? 100% Microsoft overpayment.
Total: $40+ Billion bid on Yahoo! Exaggeration? Sure but think about this:
If 1,000 agreements x $1 million minimum overpay a year = $1 Billion a year in minimum potential free money paid to Microsoft for doing ZERO!
If you read some of the posts in here:
You Paid what?
Microsoft and Sushi?
25% of the World uses Exchange 2000 Bet these people feel pain.
Exchange is free Mr CEO/CIO?
Personal Favorite, Microsoft Apologizes for Vista Redmond shipped it perhaps SOLELY to meet SA's which were about to expire with NOTHING available since the previous 3-4 years!
You know this is not something new from my discussions.(Note to self, fix search box for blog)
So before you go picking on IBM and their licensing which can seem archaic, convoluted or just bewildering...at least you get what you pay for and CHOOSE to use.
Microsoft will sell you everything from Groove (like anyone uses it), Communications Server, don't forget pieces of Sharepoint, SQL and much more.
It's not wrong of them, that's just good business.
What is wrong is that, in theory, EVERY employee is being charged for ALL of the licenses in your EA. Sure you may have worked around a piece or 2, but really an in depth discussion, review and analysis could save a 10,000 person company at least a $1 million a year with a high end of $5 million or more.
I put my money where my mouth is, I offered to do Exchange migrations for free, I/we still do support for free for various people and requests, and we handle SA, EA reviews for free. We do however have an arrangement depending on how much over the minimum guarantee we actually help you retain.
You are still thinking to sign on that agreement? I know you are, because it's easy, isn't it?
Legal said yes, finance allocated budget, who could complain?
Shareholders? Your Board? Your CEO? What will YOU reply after they read the report which is going out to the top companies Boards and CEOs?