back to article Only paying for Microsoft software that you use? It's coming

Microsoft is starting to take customers’ software usage rates very seriously in the cloudy era. It has to, otherwise punters may well endure the upheaval of taking their business elsewhere. Previously, Microsoft sold a licence that covered multiple products over multiple years and didn’t track consumption levels. But with …

  1. asdf Silver badge

    what I would be scared of

    Microsoft is doing more then ever to make open source a viable alternative by more and more only allowing their software to be used if they can track more and more what you do with it. Seppuku by cloud.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    This transitional period is fascinating

    Microsoft is desperately trying to extract itself from the desktop like a mammoth in a tar pit tries to reach solid ground.

    The PC sales plummeting means that MS is suffering revenue drop in what used to keep it rolling in cash, and the Internet is already chock full of powerful contenders with tools available that can very well keep MS under the 50% of the market rate.

    MS risks losing its monopoly and become just another cloud purveyor, something which will almost certainly happen anyway as soon as the upcoming Android-using generation reaches office desks and finds that (by then) there is nothing MS products do that Google Docs cannot.

    Watching MS's frantic struggle is somewhat cathartic, as well as enlightening. I don't think MS can avoid the lessening of its status, but whatever happens will probably become an exercise for future CEO studies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Pascall Monett - Re: This transitional period is fascinating

      Don't think so! As far as I can tell, Google still can't do Active Directory and the vast amount of legacy MS Office documents make sure enterprise remains captive.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I don't see how Active Directory will still be relevant in the marvellous Cloud-centric future every marketroid is harping on.

        But we'll see.

      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: @Pascall Monett - This transitional period is fascinating

        Why do I need Active Directory if I all my apps are tied together with OAuth? AD is a solution to a specific problem, but no longer the only one.

  3. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

    The say they need to do this 'cause PC sales ate dropping like flies. But they're to blind to see that its their failed works... Vista, 8.x, and now 10, along with the removal of standalone Office that's actually causing everyone too leave. Cupple to this the stagnant war between AMD & Intel. Its hardly a wonder why PCs are tanking. Why should I replace a decent mid-2000's Core2Duo with some ithingy CPU, when its more the capable of running everything I need?

    Makes One wonder, what would happen if MicroSoft would actually gave us what we actually wanted, instead of what they presume us to want?

    As it stands MicroSoft are only fulfilling their own doomed prophecies.

    1. K Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

      I was one of the Windows 8 doom sayers, and I'm a Linux Sys Admin in my everyday role.. so I've got enough anti-microsoft street-cred..

      But I just don't see it with Windows 10, the privacy issues is a cluster fuck.. but as a OS, I would say Windows 10 supersedes Windows 7 in every way.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

        K: Are you American or a Briton by chance? The blatant disregard for privacy strikes me as being something that is fairly common there, and baffling just about everywhere else.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

          Are you American or a Briton by chance?

          Neither I'm German... And, we kinda take data privacy at not more seriously here. Just, cause Google does it on Android should not grant MicroSoft to do this with Peoples PCs. there's a slight difference with what I do on Facebook on my phone, and the private correspondences / websites I visit. this is clearly NONE of Redmond's bussness.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

            Sorry, my original comment was direct at Sandtitz.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

        Windows 10 supersedes Windows 7 in every way

        Considering for a moment that MicroSoft are forcing Windows 7 Users into the same spyware / malware traps that they placed into Windows 10 at stock. And are coaxing the unsuspecting into installing these as recommend updates that otherwise fix issues in windows... With precious little more info to go on... You might be right. At least one knows where one stands with Windows 10. Windows 7, on the other hand, is quickly turning into a game of wack the Spyware Updates. And, sooner or latter if the current practice doe NOT cease. Then I may find myself moving to Linux before long.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

      "But they're to blind to see that its their failed works... Vista, 8.x, and now 10"

      I politely disagree, and would like to see some hard evidence backing this popular hypothesis. Yes, Vista and Windows 8 are sometimes rightly dismissed as failures but during Vista the business computers were usually downgraded to XP, and they did the same with Windows 8 (to Win7/XP). Consumers just keep using what is available and the Joe Sixpacks can't even tell Vista and 7 apart. Consumers have started to flock onto the tablet market since iPad and other devices cater to needs of most people, they're much simplified for even IT declined people. I think that's a major reason why consumers aren't buying PCs. Tablets have also made inroads into businesses but I think people are just postponing PC upgrades since the old Win7 computers work well enough.

      Searching for PC yoy growth rates shows that during Vista the growth rate was steady 20% or so (with usual fluctuations), and the market began severely tanking during Windows 7's reign before Windows 8 was released. Even if MS was to settle with Windows 7 back then I'm pretty sure the PC market would have just as it happened.

      "along with the removal of standalone Office that's actually causing everyone too leave"

      The standalone Office with perpetual usage rights isn't going anywhere with the 2016 version released today, actually!

      "Why should I replace a decent mid-2000's Core2Duo with some ithingy CPU, when its more the capable of running everything I need?"

      This I agree with. We've reached the good enough stage and since CPU frequencies aren't really climbing anymore the single-thread performance hasn't generally gotten much better.

      "Makes One wonder, what would happen if MicroSoft would actually gave us what we actually wanted"

      Most people don't know what they want. What did you want?

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps MicroSoft are looking at this the wrong way 'round...

        Most people don't know what they want. What did you want?

        What I want is a continuation of what worked (i.e. Win2k,XP. or 7), with a EULA that actually respects my privacy. Where I don't have to live in perpetual fear of some new update from that lot that'll end up bending me over to service their Ad Men Dept.

        This would be a good start... But, alas not even Windows 7 can be seen as a safe haven from this shady practice anymore.

  4. ma1010 Silver badge
    Linux

    Fear of Customers Switching?

    If MS is truly afraid of customers switching, WHY, oh why did they come out with the data-slurping, take-control-of-your-computer-from-you Windows 7 downgrade known as Windows X?

    Seriously, that's what convinced me to move to Linux Mint when I've been an MS programmer and supporter since DOS days and used WIndows 386. Changing was a bit of work, a bit to learn (and I still have lots more to learn) but worth it. Linux has some great programs, especially Libre Office which had a low learning curve and replaces MS Office nicely, at least for my needs which include Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I've had no problems using Write, Calc and Impress.

    I do have a couple of "must have" Windows-only programs, but those run nicely under my Windows 7 in Virtualbox where they have no Internet access, so I have no fear of "upgrades" or malware.

    Mr. Nadella: If you want to keep customers, let us control or own computers and so-called upgrades, and LEAVE OUR DATA ALONE.

    1. MrTuK

      Re: Fear of Customers Switching?

      What is so ironic is that Win 10 is a good OS, but its all the other dodgy spy stuff that is killing it in my opinion, luckily I am techie enough that I have killed most of it, disabled most if not all of the new bloatware like Edge, Cortana, Xbox, Weather, Store, DVD player, OneDrive etc

      I just feel sorry for all those that are not techie enough to do this and what is most ironic yet again it will be these that go elsewhere as they are not capable of disabling it so due to FUD mostly created by MS themselves with their We know best attitude - LOL

      People like myself will just disable/bypass all everything until it is no longer possible to do so or just get so annoyed with not being able to that we too will then jump elsewhere.

      Although I am Linux friendly and have played with several flavours it just is'nt a gaming platform yet well, not the one and only game I play - COH and not COH2 !

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fear of Customers Switching?

        "Win 10 is a good OS" ? by what measure?

        More efficent on existing hardware? no

        More Secure? no

        compatable with existing hardware and software ? no

        Windows 10 was just like ever other new MS OS in that it was slower/bulkier and less compatable with hardware that came out with the OSes it replaced. I would presume that windows 10 running on 4 or more cores with 8GB of ram upwards ran more cleanly than it does with windows 7 but lets be frank and admit that any optimisation for newer hardware was completely overridden by their attack on user privacy. MS created the PC hardware stumble because you do no thave to upgrade win7 hardware to run linux and that is where MS has forced a lot of customers.

        Even the non techie will notice the performance drop and restore their OLD OS as their just isnt anything to make keeping windows 10 an benefit over staying with 7 or 8, that is assuming they do not just walk away from MS.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Fear of Customers Switching?

        I just feel sorry for all those that are not techie enough to do this.

        Its not a question of being "techie" enough. I'm sure there are more then enough HOWTOs on the wibbles to get the most tech illiterate through, assuming that they aren't also illiterate to start with.

        No the problem with Win 10, is that Windows 10 WILL NOT respect your decisions as final, and will eventually at some point when you least expect it to, revert back to its spying defaults. In as far as it presumably can. I have no idea if Win 10 can reinstall Corrina and Co. again after you've supposedly removed 'em. All AI know is I have no interest in finding this out.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Fear of Customers Switching?

      MicroSoft are doing their damnedest to ensure the coming of the Year of the Linux Desktop. But, I suspect it'll take more pressure to get the likes of Adobe, Autodesk etc... to get onboard. But, it seems to me that this task seems only less daunting then say a few years ago.

    3. nkuk

      Re: Fear of Customers Switching?

      I'm in the same position, Windows 10 was the tipping point for me to switch to Linux Mint and so far its been a surprisingly easy and positive change. I'm enjoying learning the OS and have started studying for a professional Linux qualification, so my change will also lead to me getting another professional cert, and hopefully benefit my career as well has having more control over my PC to use it how I want, rather than how MS is trying to dictate its unwanted services and data collection upon its customers.

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What about offline systems?

    So what about systems deployed in places where they CAN'T "phone home" to Microsoft -- hospitals and the like due to security policy, systems that are not Internet-connected, as well as systems where the customer actually cares about privacy and either disable the "phone-home" or block it at the firewall?

    Obviously this doesn't apply to "cloud" stuff, but doesn't this sound like these LSPs could sell someone all sorts of software, then get nothing in return since the usage detected by Microsoft is 0?

  6. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Consternation

    "Consumers just keep using what is available and the Joe Sixpacks can't even tell Vista and 7 apart."

    They can't *tell* Vista and 7 apart, but the kind of people you'd assume would just use whatever is on the PC will still tell you about how bad Vista sucks, and how bad 8 sucks (to be honest I did find 8's UI totally unusable). I've talked to plenty of people who NEVER used Vista, or 8, and will tell you how awful they are and how great XP was and 7 is.

    To Microsoft's consternation, I think they assumed people who are less computer literate would not hear about Win10's data collection at all, or if they heard about it assume it's not a big deal. Instead, I hear people assuming that literally all your info will be sent to Microsoft as soon as Win10 is installed, they're absolutely terrified of the prospect of ever running Win10. I've heard people just assume that it'll send all your documents (including the content of USB sticks and external drives), all your bookmarks, your browser history, usernames and passwords, and even screenshots of your screen to "analyze" what you're doing. Of course, Microsoft has done little to disclose exactly what they DO send, and the privacy policy is in fact far too broad (since it's trying to cover data use by both the local OS and a random collection of "cloud" services.)

  7. John Sanders
    Holmes

    So MS is moving to subscription-based services

    So MS is moving to subscription-based services after all, even when everybody and their dog keeps denying it.

  8. Mikel

    embrace the cloud, rather than paying a lot more for on-premise licenses.

    Getting the customers to pay less is never the plan.

    1. Edwin

      Re: embrace the cloud, rather than paying a lot more for on-premise licenses.

      No, but I can definitely see where it can be win-win.

      Imagine an enterprise system which has regular daily users and occasional (once a month, once a year) users. The named user model makes it very expensive to have occasional users, no matter what the business justification. A floating license model goes some way to address this, but not quite all the way.

      Assuming MS wants to have constant revenue, you could then end up with a solution whereby occasional users get quite a lot cheaper.

  9. Mark Simon

    Already happening here

    “Only paying for Microsoft software that you use?”

    Yep. $0.00 and worth every cent.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Already happening here

      "Yep. $0.00 and worth every cent."

      So you run everything MS has ever made?

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