CRM 2011 Pricing and Licensing Guide updated Feb 2012

Kevin Machayya posted links in this article to an updated version of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Pricing and Licensing Guide. This is the definitive document for figuring out what you can and can’t do in various situations with different types of licence.

You can download it via Partnersource here (authorised LiveID required):

CRM 2011 Pricing and Licensing Guide Feb 2012 update

<edit> or the direct link here: http://crmdynamics.blob.core.windows.net/docs/Pricing_Licensing_Guide.pdf (I’m not sure if this only works when logged in with an appropriate LiveID)

Read more about the Activity Feed changes and different licence types»

Sorting out the complexity of Microsoft Volume Licensing

Vijay started a thread on his iQubed blog to which I replied at length, so he split out my comments as a post in their own right. The debate was around whether MS volume licensing programmes are too complex, and take up too much of a business’ time and energy, as well as making it harder for their suppliers and consulting partners to be sure they are giving the best advice. The question posed was “Who Understands Microsoft Licensing?

Fundamentally, one size simply does not fit all. The particular firewall configuration you create for one client will not be suitable for another with different needs.

Does the manufacturer’s configuration manual tell you which options to choose? Probably not, it tells you how to change the setting, which options do what, but it is down to your experience to match the need to a solution and then implement it.

Generally speaking the licensing programmes themselves are reasonably easy to choose between, if the right questions can be asked and answered. The extra benefits which come with some of the programmes are often not the main reason to choose them, but perhaps these are too often allowed to cloud the issue. I’ve tried to discuss the questions below without getting bogged down in the details of exactly which programme offers what, partly since that will change over time and partly because introducing Microsoft’s own terminology is the fastest way to lose people in this minefield.

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Microsoft Licensing Sales Specialist exams changing

Thanks to Susanne for the heads up that the Microsoft MLSS and MLSE accreditations are about to change.

I renewed my Licensing Sales Specialist accreditation in May, but had not got round to taking the other five modules to become a MSLE. I’ve done two of them today and hope to get through the rest this week, in plenty of time to avoid the 11th September deadline.

It will be interesting to see how the new model works, but at least this way I will be able to use the accreditation for a year before I have to renew my qualification.

Biggest ever fine for unlicensed software – £250,000

The Register reports that an unnamed firm has paid out a quarter of a million pounds for use of unlicensed software:

The company … was running unlicensed copies of Adobe, Autodesk, and Microsoft software on hundreds of PCs across several UK locations.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) started its investigation into the firm in October 2006, eventually resulting in the agreement of an out-of-court settlement late last month.

“The size of the settlement is a reflection of the serious nature and scale of unlicensed software use at this company,” said Sarah Coombes, director of legal affairs in EMEA for the BSA.

So far there’s no further information on the BSA website. It seems likely that the terms of the settlement will preclude either party from disclosing too much detail, so it will probably not be clear whether this amount was simply a back payment for software in use, or supposed to be a punitive fine. Out-law.com describe the company as being “in the infrastructure and public services sector.”

Since it was settled out of court, it is perhaps a little misleading to call this a fine anyway. Let’s not forget that the BSA is simply a commercial organisation which acts on behalf of it’s members in bringing civil cases. They have no statutory powers, which is why these disputes end in financial payments being made, effectively in restitution for lost business. A real case of piracy under the Copyright laws of the UK could lead to prison terms for those involved of up to ten years (if memory serves me correctly).

Shareware just means “free software”, right?

Myth: “Shareware is free software – if I can download it without having to pay I can use it at no cost.”

Debunking the myth – one in a series of several.

This is very rarely true in a business context. Ultimately, all software is subject to copyright, and the author can decide what rights they are prepared to give up in allowing you to use their product. These rights are usually described in a license, which may limit how you can use the software, conditions you must fulfil if you use it, and what costs you will have to pay. Smaller, independent publishers are more likely to provide their product for free or a very low price to encourage people to use it. However, many of these do so only for private use, and if you want to use the same product at work, they may want some payment from you. Read more of this post