Microsoft’s acquisition of Softricity is now complete and there are some major changes to the licensing for SoftGrid. In a LiveMeeting Monday, Microsoft identified some key changes--some that are already in place and others that are coming.
The biggest change comes with the new pricing that Microsoft announced this past Friday. All SoftGrid products have been consolidated into the following two licenses. These prices reflect an almost 85% reduction in client licensing costs alone.
SoftGrid Desktop License
SoftGrid CAL for Terminal Services
- There are only two licenses available--the SoftGrid Desktop License and the SoftGrid CAL for Terminal Services. The Universal Desktop license is no longer available.
- The SoftGrid platform, Sequencer, ZeroTouch and Microsoft SMS Extensions are all included in both licenses.
- Under the new EULA, SoftGrid CALs for Terminal Services are no longer licensed on a concurrent user basis. They are now licensed the same way as Microsoft Terminal Server CALs--either per-user or per-device.
- Minimum order quantities have been reduced to 5 licenses.
Softricity Software Assurance (SA) Agreements
Many changes have been made to the Softricity Software Assurance program. For the most part, there is no more SA being sold Softricity Licensing, with the exception of existing customers re-ordering product. Details are below:
- Software Assurance is suspended. SA will no longer be offered on new sales of SoftGrid licensing.
- Hotfixes, patches and minor updates will still be provided for now, but no major revisions to product.
- Customers will be able to purchase support incident packs to open support cases will Softricity. The Support Pack SKUs are not yet available, but should be by the time the product ships at the end of September.
- Existing agreements due to expire will not be renewed or extended. Microsoft is in the process of integrating the Softricity SKUs in with their Volume Licensing program and Microsoft’s “SA” will be available in the first half of 2007.
- Existing customers will get upgrades to product provided their support agreement is still valid at the time the update is released (i.e. Vista-compatible version).
Existing Customers Re-Ordering Licenses
- Only existing customers can purchase SA for re-orders on an existing agreement until either July 1, 2007 or the date their agreement expires, whichever comes first.
The Softricity name is staying for now. Microsoft feels that the Softricity brand has a lot of recognition in industry and is planning to capitalize on it. On the slides in the presentation, the logo now reads “A wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp”.
- August 1, 2006 – new pricing/EULA is in effect. Existing customers’ re-orders can be fulfilled, and new orders can be placed, however new code will not ship until the end of September.
- August 4, 2006 – Interim code released to support POCs (version 126.96.36.1995; not supported for Production environments).
- September 29, 2006 – Target date for revised code and fulfillment (production release). This release will not include ZeroTouch, most likely as a result of crucial open-source code being removed from the product.
- Fall 2006 – ZeroTouch functionality will be released. The current version of ZeroTouch (1.11.99) will not be supported in the 9/29/2006 release. Customers wishing to deploy ZeroTouch will need to wait until it is released in the Fall.
Also in the Fall of 2006, Microsoft is expected to announce projected Volume Licensing offerings and upgrade paths.
- First Half of 2007 – Microsoft Software Assurance will be available through the Volume Licensing programs. Microsoft is also expected to make the SoftGrid Platform available to all Microsoft channels for resale.
- July 1, 2007 – All existing Softricity SA agreements will expire. SA will only be available via the Microsoft Volume Licensing programs.
What this means to the Industry
First, since SA is now defunct, there is no definitive answer from Softricity on how new customers will get updates to the software as there is no maintenance agreements available. The same also applies for customers whose maintenance expires before the expected release of Volume Licensing SA information.
Next, the product roadmap is unclear. Prior to the acquisition, Softricity's #1 goal was to have context communication working between virtual environments. Softricity does such a great job of isolating applications that it's almost a detriment. Now, Microsoft's focus is clearly on a 64-bit version and a Vista-compatible client. Beyond that, there is little information on where the product is going.
Microsoft obviously has serious competition with Altiris, and this acquisition is clearly meant to close the gap. Altiris' SVS is a direct competitor of Softricity, but now that the pricing is so low, it may give Microsoft an advantage.
In terms of Citrix Streaming Server (aka Tarpon), Softricity is now the first product that directly competes with Citrix. Presentation Server was always an "add on" to Terminal Server. However, customers will now have a decision to make between software virtualization platforms. It will be either Citrix OR Microsoft, but not both. I am curious to see how this will affect (if at all) the relationship between Microsoft and Citrix.