Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pay MS-Tax to access Windows on iPads

I came across this piece of news while testing Ulteo and doing some background work. By the way, I am looking to offer services around this product so please take what ever I am writing here about them with a grain of salt.
Apparently, MS has introduced an additional charge when you access a Windows desktop from tablet. The CRN article goes into the gory details of the licensing issue. The license supposedly aimed at user-owned devices. It is meant for large corporate customers under a certain licensing scheme who are running VDI or a Virtual Desktop Interface. This is when the desktop OS is running in a virtual machine on the server and the user's device is akin to a dumb terminal. But if you want to access it from your iPad or Andriod device (most likely through some sort of RDP client), there is another license that is required on top of whatever there is. However, this license apparently will come bundled with Windows RT, the tablet OS version of Windows 8 on ARM processors. Which effectively means that Microsoft is imposing a tax because you are not using Windows RT to access the corporate desktop.
The intended effect of this is very clear, slow down iPad adoption in corporations. For companies that facing this, there are two directions to choose from.
First, start with a strategy that focuses on delivering access and service to you users and then move them to the concept of doing work rather than using a tool. Or to put it in another way, doing work is getting the job done not how you used some tools. Output and completion is important not the tools to get it done. If you can get it done on a PC, good. If you got it on the iPad, kudos. As long as the jobs is done and done well.

Second, focus on the apps not the OS. This applies when there are Windows applications that you can't get away from. That is where tools like Ulteo come in. You still need a Windows infrastructure, Windows Terminal servers and all the related licenses. But you provide the "last-mile" access via Ulteo or something like it. Straight up remote desktop might not cut it since it may not provide the individualization needed or consume too many resources.
There is of course the third way. Start getting off the Microsoft train. Start with Office-crack and go Libre Office. Your users are likey to be using Firefox or Chrome anyway. Get them on a webmail interface. Ulteo again may provide a bridge by allowing users to access and run critical windows applications on their new Linux desktop. Start thinking of alternative applications or get those apps a web interface.
This tax is meant to continue dominance. Why innovate for profit when you can tax?

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