Microsoft has a reputation for very expensive licensing and they have reinforced this by way of “a new optional add-on to its Software Assurance (SA) volume licensing agreement — called a Companion Device License (CDL).” This means that customers wanting to access corporate desktops remotely using their non-Windows-based mobile devices, like the iPad, will now come with an additional cost. For those who acquire one of these new licenses, up to four personal devices will be covered for remote access.
The new Companion Device License comes as an add-on to the Windows 8 Software Assurance (SA) volume licensing agreement, which should be an unwelcome surprise for large corporations expecting to be covered for mobile devices already –though Microsoft does allow tablets running the upcoming Windows RT (the operating system to be used on any devices running ARM processors instead of the usual x86 silicon) access free of charge. For companies not currently covered by a Software Assurance (SA) volume licensing agreement, the new arrangement may actually be less expensive.
The one piece of good news is that the currently restrictive SA Roaming Right rules are now much more relaxed in preparation for Microsoft having a tablet operating system equipped with a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that would have been affected.
Reactions to this news were not unexpected with most people calling Microsoft out on their obvious attempt to penalize those who choose to use a non-Windows-based tablet while holding on to any market-share they still have for dear life.
A specific cost has not been released, which may not be much of a shock when you consider Windows 8 isn’t available yet. While Microsoft promises we can get our hands on the new version of their operating system ‘later this year’, we have little reason to get our hopes up just yet. It may be an intentional public relations move to release this new license information prior to Windows 8 hitting the shelves in order to avoid the negative press this will surely generate, in which case I think it is brilliant.