Last week, ComputerWorld's Eric Lai wrote about the changes that Microsoft made to VECD. (VECD, for those of you who don't remember, stands for "Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop." It's the special license you need if you want to run multiple instances of Vista on your workstation via a local VMM or local hypervisor, or if you want to conenct to a remote instance of Vista via server-based computing in a VDI scenario.) The big downside to VECD is that it's an "add-on" license. So first you have to buy a Vista license (A Vista "Enterprise" license, to be exact.) Then you have to pay for Software Assurance. And only then to you qualify for the right to buy the VECD add-on license to let you run Vista remotely.
When I talk to people about VECD, a lot of them are honestly surprised to hear about it. "You mean I'm not allowed to remotely connect to Vista without it?" Nope. They didn't even know!
The big stink is that most of the world ("most" being defined as "everyone who doesn't work for Microsoft") wants Microsoft to just say, "Ok, you pay for one Vista license for each employee, and then however you figure is the best way to provide access to Vista is fine with us. Remote, local, one instance for each app--do whatever you need to do."
Yeah right. Keep dreaming.
I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for Eric's article. On the phone he asked me why Microsoft wasn't getting more progressive here. My answer? Because they don't need to. They're a monopoly. The reality is that in today's world, you can't get away from Windows applications. And for the foreseable future, Windows applications will require Windows. And since only one company makes Windows, well, you know the rest...
Getting back to the specifics of last week's VECD announcement, Microsoft did offer some alternative VECD pricing, specifically offering a lower-priced version for contractors who come into an environment and for people who will connect occasionally from home. But VECD, as it is now, isn't going anyway until Microsoft feels enough market pressure to make a change. Remember, monopolies only innovate when they have to. (See related news searches on Goolge Android and Citrix XenDesktop.)