Brian & Gabe LIVE #25 - Part 3: How clueless Microsoft's new licensing and tablets strategy is

Listen to the whole show here!


Brian Madden: And nor can they afford to sell at a loss because all the app store stuff goes to Microsoft, not to them,

So – And no consumer –

Rodney Medina: Yeah.

Brian Madden: Like what – Is your grandmother gonna buy – I mean, what consumer in their right mind, besides – Because if you hate Apple, you probably hate Microsoft, too.  And you’ve got, you’ve already got your Android tablet that you’ve hacked and put open-source software on.

Gabe Knuth: Unless you’re Benny.

Jack Madden: A Windows on ARM tablet seems like something that, like, your weird cousins from another state that you only visit every now and then would like, “Yeah, I knew somebody that had one of those.”

Brian Madden: Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be like, it’s gonna be like my L.A. Gear Air shoes that I had in sixth grade.  We had, you know, it was like when Nike Airs came out – Paul, what kind of shoes did you have?

Paul: It was Reebok Pump.

Brian Madden: Paul had Reebok Pumps.  Damn.  You’re an only child of divorced parents, man.

Gabe Knuth: Oh, you lucky bastard.

Brian Madden: Reebok Pumps.

Paul: Just once.  Once.

Gabe Knuth: All right, Millhouse.

Brian Madden: But I had L.A. Gear Airs, and I feel like – So I felt like such a badass going to school that day because my shoes had little windows in the side.  But like clear, clear rubber, you know, in the back.  But I’m sure that when RT’s –

Rodney Medina: I think the advantage, I think the advantage Microsoft has it that they have an, more of an open mind to, towards hardware vendors, so there will be more options available from a – I mean, everyone – A lot of people are sort of screaming for smaller iPads.  And, well, Microsoft will just hand it over to all the vendors that bought themselves into the RT platform, I guess.  So –

Brian Madden: But you know –

Rodney Medina: There will be more options.  But the, the success will be – Will there be enough sexy applications available in the Microsoft store?  

Brian Madden: It’s interesting.

Rodney Medina: I think that’s the whole deal.

Brian Madden: Yeah, but look at it.  There’s already over 50 Android tablets on the market today.  50 different models of the Android tablet.  Quickly, name five.

Rodney Medina: I advise them, so –

Brian Madden: This is open, open question to everyone.  

Jack Madden: Samsung, Whizbang whatever it is.

Gabe Knuth: Galaxy.

Jack Madden: Yeah.

Brian Madden: Galaxy?  Is that a tablet?

Jack Madden: Galaxy tablet.

Brian Madden: Okay, Galaxy tab.

Gabe Knuth: Yeah, I forget what the Asus one is.  Asus has one.

Brian Madden: It’s Transformer something.

Jack Madden: Yeah, the Asus Transformer Prime.  That’s –

Brian Madden: Look, we got five of us here.  

Jack Madden: Like the tablet with the keyboard.

Brian Madden: We got, we got five of us, like, tech nerds here can’t fucking name five out of 50.

Jack Madden: Flippy the Clown names Zoom.

Gabe Knuth: Ooh, Zoom.  Good one.


Brian Madden: Asus, that’s a company.  You can’t just name companies that may or may not make tablets.

Gabe Knuth: What are you talking about?  Zoom is a tablet.

Brian Madden: No, I’m saying that the, the next one says “Asus” underneath.

Gabe Knuth: Oh, okay.  Yeah.  The Kobi Kairos.  Le Pantici.

Jack Madden: I’m sure I walked by many of them at the consumer electronics show.

Brian Madden: Yeah, you see my point here, is that – So this is, this is what Microsoft have to look forward to with, with –

Gabe Knuth: This is sick.  There’s so many companies that I’ve never even heard of before that have –

Brian Madden: Yeah, and so but to say that oh, all the world is waiting for – Meanwhile, in – While we had this conversation, in the past 15 seconds, Apple sold like 50,000 iPads.  Do the match.  I betcha that’s actually accurate.  

So this is, you know – And by the way, there’s like a million – How many apps in the app store?  Like 3 million apps or whatever?  So anyway, but so –

Gabe Knuth: You, you know what?  Will you be – Because right now I think you can go into a Walgreens, into a drug store, and buy a passive matrix, TFT screen, $79 Android tablet.  And, and I think that that’s – Yeah, that’s the ultimate, like, rock bottom for any technology, right?  And so I think that that’s where, that’s where we’re gonna end up seeing Windows RT.

Jack Madden: It’s like when DVD players started being, like, like $30.  

Gabe Knuth: Yeah.

Jack Madden: But so the, the question that brings up, that brings, that this brings up, and I don’t want to open this can of worms again, but maybe everybody will head to these Windows RT tablets because you don’t need to buy a companion device license for them to access VDI environments.

Brian Madden: Well, so okay, that’s a good point.

Gabe Knuth: Ooh.

Brian Madden: No.

Rodney Medina: Okay.

Brian Madden: Because, because look.  Okay.  So let’s, let’s back up here.  So, so Microsoft announced – As part of MMS, they announced their plans for Windows 8.  They announced some licensing changes and I’m gonna just put these into the –

Gabe Knuth: Did you find that?

Brian Madden: Yeah, I got it here.  

Gabe Knuth: Okay.

Brian Madden: Probably all the – So the license change, you know, this is the thing.  And I guess to recap, and it sounds like such a crazy thing.  So everyone knows that you need, you need SA.  So first of all, Microsoft licenses Windows based on device, not based on users.  So if you have 1,000 users in your company, that is in no way related to the number of Windows licenses you need.  It’s how many devices you have in your company.

But now, so every device that connects into your Windows environment, if it’s like a VDI environment or terminal server or the VMs, every device, different device needs a license.  But of course they realized but them if users to home, well wait.  So you gotta buy a license for like every random computer internet kiosk friend’s machine that a user buys?

And so then Microsoft says, “Oh, okay.  If, if the use – If the company has a device that the user uses on a regular basis for work, and that license has, that machine is licensed, then if the user is outside the office and uses LA devices, okay, they can just kinda ride in on that first one.”

But they defined it – And this is how it’s been now for the past five years.  But they defined it based on – So if your user’s primary device at work is licensed, when the user goes out into the world, they can use whatever they want sort of on that same license.  But if they’re at work, it has to be licensed.

So a user using, like, whatever devices the users use in the office, on premises they say, I believe, has to have, like the company has to buy a license for it.

But then that’s a weird thing that Nick Coutinho pointed – Or Nathan, pardon me, Nathan Coutinho from CDW pointed out to us, where he said, “So wait.  If a user has an iPad at home and they connect to your VDI desktop from home, you don’t need an additional license.  But if they walk through the door of the company, then you’re, then you need to buy a license for the iPad?”

Gabe Knuth: Yeah.

Brian Madden: And the answer is yes.  You have to buy a VDI license for that.  And then it’s like, “Well, wait.  What if they have a phone and an iPad, and they use one for five minutes, an extra five minutes?  Like yeah, these all require licenses.

Gabe Knuth: Yeah, each one’s a device.  Separate licenses, not one.

Brian Madden: But it’s like, how the hell the company – Which is, which is crazy.  Because in today’s world, the whole point of this whole virtualization thing is oh, just focus on delivering Windows to your users and don’t worry about the devices.  But Microsoft still wants you to worry about the devices, but only when they’re at work.

And so clearly this –

Gabe Knuth: This is why it’s so confusing.  I mean, this is, this is why  - What did I say?  You, you call Microsoft 10 different times and ask them about licensing, and you’ll get 11 different answers.

Brian Madden: Yeah, and so –

Gabe Knuth: And because, because of all of this.  How could you possibly do it right?

Brian Madden: So the, so clearly this is asinine.  So Microsoft in order to solve this, that’s why they create – So the, so the new change for Windows 8 licensing is they introduced a brand-new license called the companion device license, the CDL.  And what this license – It’s for the scenario I just mentioned.  So it’s an add-on on top of SA or VDA.  So if you have scenarios where you’re buying SA, your primary devices are licensed, users are out in the world and they can use whatever devices they want, but then when they come into the company until – Your work office is like, “Oh my God, I gotta track these things?”

You can buy this CDL to say now whatever the users use in the company is gonna be, like, that’s okay.  You don’t need an extra license for that because that sort takes those extended roaming rights that you’ve got outside your company and applies them also to inside the company.

Jack Madden: For the arbitrary number of four devices.

Brian Madden: Right.  Which, yeah, so if a user has five personal devices – And how the hell you’re supposed to know that, again, is beyond me.

Gabe Knuth: Gotta buy two CDLs.

Brian Madden: Yeah.

Jack Madden: Yeah, or as a commoner said, you just have to have, you just have to inform company security to check everyone if they have an iPad, I’m assuming that’s when they come in the door or –

Brian Madden: But, but now, but technically, though, walking in the door doesn’t mean you need the license.  It’s not until you access your VDI desktop.

So, but here’s the crazy thing, though.  So first of all, no one can fucking know what is what.  So companies who are afraid of being audited, what are they gonna do?  They’re going to buy a CDL for all their users, you know?  Just to like kinda play it safe.  

And so really what we had is like a stealth price increase of SA.  So they say, “Hey, you could” – It’s like a protection racket, you know?  Like, “Ah, you know, you could track all this individually, or for a few bucks extra per user for year, maybe we look the other way for this.”

Gabe Knuth: Yeah, this is like promising not to introduce new taxes and just raising the old ones.

Brian Madden: Now, now here’s what, here’s what, here’s where it gets asinine crazy.  As if this isn’t bad enough so far.  With Windows RT – So what Microsoft announced is that if – Remember, the CDL, all this stuff, it only applies to personally owned devices.  So if the company buys a user an iPad, and the company has the acid tag and the company owns that iPad, that device has to have the Windows license, the VDI license regardless because the thought is the company can track that and they know how many they buy.  

You know, if the company buys an iPad and has that license, then you can use it wherever you are.  In the company, out of the company, it doesn’t matter.  So this is only for personal devices that users are buying on their own or that are borrowed or non-company-owned devices.

So, so this whole CDL thing is to cover personal devices in work, but now where it gets really shady is Microsoft said now if that personal device is running Windows RT, then you, Windows RT is gonna have this VDA, extended VDA license they call it, just to create a new one.  It’ll have that license built in.

So basically if your users are going out and on their own buying Windows RT tablets, when they bring those Windows RT tablets into the office, you do not need to buy a CDL.

Now, let’s talk about all the ways that that’s fucked up.  So, so first of all, tracking nightmare.  Because this is – Again, now it’s like okay, so I gotta track which device.  But if you have an iPhone and a Windows RT tablet and, like, you’re supposed to track, and the user walks in the door, it’s like, “Okay, if you access your device from this it’s okay, but if you use your iPhone, it knows it’s the web page, you can push it and it comes right up.  But technically you owe us $30 if you do that.”  That’s kinda goofy.

The second –

Gabe Knuth: But you know damn well Microsoft is going, “Hey, no, this is simpler.”

Brian Madden: Well, they fucking said that in the release.  They said this is like, you know, “We heard our customers and want to clarify and simplify enterprise licensing.”  But then, then the next thing is that they – So remember, this only applies to devices that are non-company-owned.  So Jack, to your point –

Jack Madden: Right, right.

Brian Madden: When you were saying, “Is this gonna encourage” – Oh, because now if companies are buying tablets, then they can say, “Hey, instead of buying iPads for all of our users, let’s buy Windows RT for all of our users.  So license doesn’t” –

Jack Madden: Right.  So of course that doesn’t matter.  It, it doesn’t matter.  It needs a VDA anyway.

Brian Madden: Right.  They need a full VDA anyway, so it doesn’t matter there.  And users on their own, I mean, let’s be real.  When that user walks into Best Buy, you think they’re gonna be like, “Well, if I buy this Windows device” –

And the company can’t even, like, say we’ll give you a rebate or a bonus because that’s the company acknowledging they’re keeping track of it, which means they have to buy full VDA for it.  So, and not to mention –

Gabe Knuth: Is that, wait.  Is that true, though?  Is it just for personal for RT?  Because I read that as RT, if you have RT and you’re corporate and your main PC at the workplace has SA, that the fact that you have RT is enough, whether it’s personal or business owned.

Brian Madden: That is true.  Yeah, yeah.  That is true.  So you’re right.  So, so in terms of companies buying these, these devices for the users, they can buy –

Gabe Knuth: They’re gonna buy them for everybody.

Brian Madden: Well, right.  They can buy Windows RT and not have to buy separate VDA like they would with an iPad.

Gabe Knuth: Right.

Brian Madden: Which now that means, so now you have to pay – There’s an iPad tax, essentially.  All this shit that like Citrix and Quest and VMWare talks about, you know, “Look how we can deliver Windows apps to iPads and Androids” and all that kind of stuff.  You would have to pay $119 per year more if you’re delivering those to, to those tablets versus Windows RT.

Gabe Knuth: To non-Windows RT devices.  Yeah.

Brian Madden: But, but why this is so messed up, though, is because so if – Like I could understand if Windows RT was like a full version of Windows and users could install applications, and it’s like, you know, you’re already buying the Windows experience, so what’s the difference here?

But remember, Windows RT is not.  You can’t arbitrarily install applications.  It’s only Windows Metro applications, which are your multi-touch, non like sort of huge enterprise apps.  So this is where I talk about like antitrust in the article.  

And a lot of people said, “Well, hey, it’s a free country, they can do whatever they want.”  Or “Microsoft is a company, it’s capitalism.”  But, but they can’t do whatever they want.  That’s why, that’s why non-monopoly laws exist, and that’s why the Justice Department went after Microsoft.  And so 15 years ago or whatever that was.

So that, that makes, that makes – The fact that Windows RT is, gets a free pass when all the other ones don’t, that just seems, seems super shady.

Gabe Knuth: Yeah, who knows if that kind of thing can stand up?  I mean, I guess you could say, you could draw to applications or something like that saying, “Well, look, Apple – You know, this application only comes in a Mac.  They’re not making them ready for Windows.”  But I don’t know.  It, it’s – I guess no matter what, even if it is shady, even if it is illegal, it’s not gonna be solved anytime soon, you know?  That took years and years to draw out the whole Internet Explorer thing from, from whatever, 10 or 15 years ago.  God, that was 15, wasn’t it?

So regardless of that, it’s still shady.

Rodney Medina: Yeah, but from a, from a company, from a company perspective, I really hope that all the IT pros out there realize that getting a Windows RT tablet for all the users will be the same management nightmare as an iPad.  I mean, can I, can I manage device –

Gabe Knuth: I stole my device.

Rodney Medina: Yeah, it’s an unmanaged device.  That’s also what Brian stated earlier today, I guess, about no group policy access, no membership of the domain, and so on.  Because I think it’s really going to be focused on the consumer market.  At least I hope.  Because otherwise you will have the same struggles deploying applications to your iPad users that people now have.

Brian Madden: Now, along those lines of it not, Windows RT not having domain joins and not having group policy access, there’s an interesting conversation on Slashdot.  And the poster, it seems like this was actually posted as like a spam type of thing, and the article is actually – The, the article that this conversation’s based around that Slashdot links to is a pretty uninformed article that misses a lot of key points.

But nevertheless, nevertheless, it’s, it’s – The conversations are, are good.  And the question is basically they say, “Well hey, maybe Microsoft just ran out of time with Windows RT and didn’t have time to build the Active Directory support and group policy support and everything.”  

And I – My belief, and I’m working on an article for this for  But my belief is that it’s not that they ran out of time, it’s flat-out that domain joins and group policy represents the old way of managing.  


View All Videos

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.