back to article Microsoft middlemen rebel against removal of free software licences

More than 2,500 resellers and integrators have signed a petition opposing Microsoft's intention to remove free software licences granted to members of the channel to run their business. The changes are described here: Effective July 1, 2020, we will retire the internal use rights (IUR) association with the product licenses …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    So they can't sell the licenses off on eBay any more. Where am I going to get cheap licenses now? Hasn't MIcrosoft considered the financial impact to eBay?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Linux

      Why look for cheap dodgy licences when you might be able to get free ones instead?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why look for cheap dodgy licences when you might be able to get free ones instead?

        Who needs to find dodgy licenses off of fleaBay or potentially malware-ridden license-server hacks; I found an even better hack that simply uses a rPi.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Having been a manager in my time (ducks) whose first task on day one of the job was to take the competency test in order to secure the MAP licences for the company, I have a niggling feeling (judging from who is whining the most) that a large part of the whinefest is the least mentioned part, which is the fact that some businesses are now going to have to pay for either training, or staff with the necessary skills to secure the higher prizes.

    Of course, from a Microsoft POV, more people having more Microsoft skills is a win/win .....

  3. AMBxx Silver badge

    Breathes a sigh of relief

    From MS:

    Product license use rights will be updated to be used for business development scenarios such as demonstration purposes, solution/services development purposes, and internal training.

    That covers me for at least 90%. Rest I can switch to free MS or open source alternatives. I went through the pain of Dynamics CRM - so slow, I'd rather pay for something else.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Breathes a sigh of relief

      BUGGER

      Not sure what happens to my Office 365 subscription. May need to switch to Zoho or something. Have nearly 3TB in Onedrive. I guess that goes too.

      Should still be worth it for the $100 per month of Azure credit.

      Bastards.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Breathes a sigh of relief

        "Have nearly 3TB in Onedrive. I guess that goes too."

        You've got a copy or two elsewhere haven't you? Haven't you?

      2. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: Breathes a sigh of relief

        3TB in OneDrive? It's one thing to whine about software licensing but 3TB needs actual hardware and power etc.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Breathes a sigh of relief

      "That covers me for at least 90%. Rest I can switch to free MS or open source alternatives."

      That does make me wonder how many of the smaller resellers might look to switching to Linux to run the business of (re-)selling MS products.

  4. Nezumi
    FAIL

    Still miss my TechNet...

    Of course this does mean that I have the benefit of now running Linux instead. I'm sure this was what they wanted. Oddly enough I also haven't been particularly motivated to take any certs past Server 2K12 either...

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Still miss my TechNet...

      I normally get annoyed with all the Linux references. This time MS are really hurting small resellers. Guess I'll be running more Linux in the future too.

      1. BobChip
        Linux

        Re: Still miss my TechNet...

        "Guess I'll be running more Linux in the future too."

        We mostly all started where you are now. Welcome to the club. We're large and friendly. And free.

        1. Maventi

          Re: Still miss my TechNet...

          > We mostly all started where you are now.

          Indeed we did. Ex Microsoft fanboy here too. Everyone has their breaking point.

    2. Notas Badoff

      Re: Still miss my TechNet...

      I still have my TechNet Dr. GUI t-shirt in the closet. I keep it to remind me that <they> do not have your best interests at heart, even if <they> could remember what those were. <They> screwed developers "a long time ago".

      So, come July 2020, as they screw resellers ... "... your journey towards the dark side will be complete!"

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: Still miss my TechNet...

        Shirley you mean "your journey FROM the dark side will be complete!"

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Subsidised & free MS Licenses?

    "Smaller Microsoft channel firms have been able to operate their businesses, in large part, using these subsidised licences."

    So, they'll migrate to Linux. I mean you could end up being sued for recommending Win10 with the flat GUI that reduces productivity, encourages mistakes and might even contravene GDPR.

    You can make more money learning to do and sell real support than reselling "licences" anyway. Bitlocker on Win10 per disk, or PGP based encryption per user on Linux?

    1. J__M__M

      Re: Subsidised & free MS Licenses?

      You say that like there's no pain involved.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Subsidised & free MS Licenses?

        Of course there's pain involved. I always found Windows painful the more you looked below the surface.

      2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

        Re: Subsidised & free MS Licenses?

        "You say that like there's no pain involved."

        Nope, it's just not that relevant.

        Is there pain going from a simple setup based on Windows and associated apps to a Linux one? Some amount, but not a lot. Is there pain going from a simple Windows-based setup to one running the next newer version of Windows and associated apps? Probably some, but not a lot.

        Is there pain going from a complex Windows-based setup to a Linux one? Yes, perhaps considerable, and it might not even be feasible depending on what software is running on there. Is there pain going from a complex Windows-based setup to one running on the next newer Windows system? Yes, perhaps considerable, and it might not even be feasible depending on what software is running on there.

        Not a big Windows user here, but roughly speaking going up from NT4 through 2000/2000 server and XP/2003 server, they tended to slap on new features, but (just like on desktop) were quite fastidious in maintaining backward compatibility. Later versions (coming out in the Vista, 7, 8, 10 timeframe), 2003, 2008, 2012, etc., they really seem to move things around sometimes "just because", less emphasis on backward compatibility, and so on. This makes upgrades potentially much harder.

  6. SVV Silver badge

    Disgruntled resellers have created a petition

    So, they're whining that the stuff they sell costs too much to buy?

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Disgruntled resellers have created a petition

      No, they're whining that as a Partner to Microsoft, Microsoft isn't giving them a reduction on the cost of the stuff they use internally.. They'll need to pay full price and still spend money being a Partner.

      None of the stuff in the Action Pack can be sold.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Slightly conflicted

    But only slightly.

    I have a sliver of sympathy for the resellers, but at the same time they were quite happy to sell overpriced tat to their victims customers.

  8. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Extinguish

    Thanks partners, but we don't need your help any more.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Extinguish

      Because MS moving to Cloud Rental and Direct Selling. The MS resellers are simply taking margin and few add value.

      MS probably doesn't need their help now, not like 1981 to 2001.

      I think it was 2004 I didn't renew TechNet or MSDN for our company. I said it wasn't worth it and that they were going to cancel the too marketing orientated MCSP/MSCE thingys unless you did fresh exams. Unlike um, degrees, HNDs, Masters, PhDs etc.

      Fortunately I was out of IT support just before Vista appeared. All downhill since Server 2003? Even back then we'd stopped installing Exchange and Small Business Server and starting to install 3rd party SW, and gasp, even Linux for servers.

  9. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Live by the Software

    Die by the software

    ...or Microsoft's options...

    Die/Buy the software.

  10. JassMan Silver badge

    They should be glad.

    If they had free software because of nominal competencies and then sold licences having told a client that the sofware would do everything required of it, they could be sued for misrepresentation or fraud on the grounds that they were "compentent". Now they can just say "you'll have to take Microsofts word for it that it works, because I don't have a licenced copy to try it out for you." Their legal bills will be so much lower because they know that no one ever sues MS and wins.

    On the other hand their turnover is also going to be lower because lots of would-be clients are going to say "why should we buy software from you if you aren't using it yourself"

  11. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Disgruntled resellers have created a petition..., which at the time of writing has over 2,500 signatures.

    Now if those 2500 signatories put some effort into ReactOS, they wouldn't need Microsoft anymore.

  12. Franco Silver badge

    I could understand them cutting the allocation, as the Action Pack IUR is worth thousands and thousands of pounds (last time I checked there were 10 Windows 10 licenses and something like 16 Server licenses, plus 5 Office 365 E3, $100 a month of Azur credits and loads more) but killing it completely is pretty draconian.

    I use the server and client licenses largely for demoing things on a non-production enviroment and my own training, so should be covered there, but the Office 365 license will cost me about the same for a single user as the Action Pack subscription does.

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      > the Office 365 license will cost me about the same

      >for a single user as the Action Pack subscription does

      Unless you need to download the Office apps you can go for O365 Business Essentials which is about £45/year.

      Still, this does seem like a mean, goodwill-shattering move on MS's part.

  13. david 12 Silver badge

    Microsoft was a big fish in the small pond of small-business. They fight with the big boys now in enterprise and residential. They don't need small-business any more.

  14. LeoP

    It is what's between the lines that is really important!

    There have been many (both enlightened and whining) comments in the last years that Microsoft has basically given up on the SMB (and maybe "Power User") market:

    - No more Exchange in SBS

    - No opt-out of "Telemetry" below hundreds of seats

    - Mo more WIndows for mobile

    - More of that stuff.

    Well, IMHO this is nothing else than completion of the circle: If we don't care for the SMB market, then why would we care for those supplying it?

    What I am quite curious about is, whether there is some vacuum starting to establish and how it is going to be filled.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It is what's between the lines that is really important!

      "What I am quite curious about is, whether there is some vacuum starting to establish and how it is going to be filled."

      Could this be behind IBMs interest in RedHat?

  15. jeffroimms

    Slippy slope

    IMO.. The start of this all was the Office 365 solution (decisions to try and terminate the "buy outright" version) and Microsoft's attempt at maximum monetising its assets. Unfortunately it is primarily hitting those of us Who do and have supported, ranted and raved about their solutions within our social groups.. Were obviously somewhat put out by this..

    This industry exists because the geeky (me to!) raved about and funded the past 40 years of developments, unfortunately the ACCOUNTANTS seem to be in charge so this could be the demise of the whole thing.. If you turn us off, no matter how good your advertising is, How do you expect to sell your whole product range without those who are engaged and would have been likely to push your product, there have been no end of examples, check your archives.

    Office 365 will become Microsoft 365 and the end user will be licensing the whole Office / Operating System package through a web portal built directly into the UEFI BIOS which will be presented on initial turn on.. its really not that far a stretch of the imagination to see it on the horizon (This notice is to be taken as my initial Copyright to this concept and all variations thereof).. ker ching ;)

    Microsoft are back to the old game of forgetting that the OS and the Hardware are ALL irrelevant… ITs WHATS CREATED WITH IT THAT COUNTS.... OUR DATA not yours..

    "build it and they will come".. Build a wall around it and charge the advertisers and you will eventually stall and fall.

    Maybe this is the start of the Microsoft University and the slippy slope towards a more Apple-esque environment

    Engage with your community don't alienate us.. most of us are hard working and couldn't afford a full suite of your products - let alone the constant time in study to get accredited on them all (QUESTIONs - How long would it actually take to complete all the Accreditations, back to back? in which order do you suggest we take them? and is it really a realistic an expectation? would you also guarantee that you would not release new software negating my studies during the time frame expected to achieve full qualification?.. what would be the expected cost to achieve FULL ACCREDITATION? again, is that realistic?

    Many of your MAPS clients are micro businesses who are grateful for the leg up, but many of us are still only one and two man bands, however we generally service over 1000 sites each, these sites are generally more trusting of us than they are of you.. We meet them face to face and we are the faces they see when all goes wrong, we are the ones who actually take ownership of the problems when they do happen, how are you going to replace that ? The jobs we do, you cannot do remotely, if they could be, then we wouldn't be needed on the ground. oh and we are the ones that the Clients, Customers, end users, Forum visitors ask for, for our opinion... !

    we don't have the time to go into full time studies again (were maintaining your O/Ses), take a grasp of reality - OURS not YOURS!! and believe it or not, many of us have been using your products since before Win 3.1 we have already invested time, energy and of course money, let alone the revision and ongoing learning. We also represent the wedge of industry that makes many of the decisions these days and the long term knowledge that perpetuates your company..

    Personally I jumped the MAPS program when it was still at the £200 level and you was trying to dismiss us with your at the time New Office 365 solution..

    I'm still part of the Beta testing team for windows 10, but as a small business owner of 17 years working with micro businesses and homes you are turning me off, I cannot ever recommend your 365 products to my end users.. when it ALWAYS works out in their best interest to buy your products outright, when you stop selling your full products then I will be looking and already do recommend alternative solutions.

    Innovate - not Isolate... you know full well LINUX is looking very capable for the end use.

    Response not expected..

    1. davealford

      Re: Slippy slope

      Excellent - I think MS have forgotten exactly how many licenses small business buy because they're recommended by smaller support companies.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Slippy slope

      "Office 365 will become Microsoft 365 and the end user will be licensing the whole Office / Operating System package through a web portal built directly into the UEFI BIOS which will be presented on initial turn on.. "

      In effect, turning Windows into a ChromeOS wannabe. If they go down that route, then businesses, smaller ones in particular, will then have a clear choice between ChromeOS and Google Office or MS. I wonder how it would work if you need to install non-MS products?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disgruntled resellers have created a petition

    oh dear, this is gonna sink MS in no time...

  17. AGS221

    When they finally force everybody into subscription by grossly hiking the price of traditional licencing, as already begun there will be no need for these resellers. Everything will be done via an online portal directly with M$. More margin feeds the corporate greed.

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