Users and thin client vendors opened fire last week on Microsoft's licensing policy for Windows Terminal Server at the first dedicated thin client conference, Thinergy 98. Speaking at the conference, Robert Carter, chief technology officer at Federal Express parent company FDX, said Microsoft had failed to meet the expectations of enterprise computing. "Cost containment is critical," he said. "The pricing model is not yet right. (It still feels like) PC pricing." Federal Express is implementing more than 60,000 Windows-based terminals (WBTs) as part of its Global Resource Information Decentralisation project. To deploy these devices, users must buy a licence for Windows NT Terminal Server Edition together with a client access licence and a Windows NT Workstation licence for each seat. In addition, to use a legacy PC as a WBT and achieve server load-balancing requires software such as Citrix's MetaFrame, available on concurrent licensing. So users end up buying several Microsoft licences and Citrix software. Frances Reay, Windows product marketing manager at Microsoft, said there was a misunderstanding about the WBT architecture and the licensing policy. "Because all processing takes place on the server, people have assumed that there should only be server licence, but users are still accessing the Windows environment," she said. "The licensing works in the same way as any other Microsoft network architecture." Reay claimed that, in practice, most enterprise users would receive heavy discounts, making the Terminal Server Edition cheaper than comparable mainframe/terminal systems. Also at Thinergy '98, IBM announced that its Network Manager Station 3.0 for NT would include, on a trial basis, Citrix MetaFrame, designed to improve manageability; WinCentre for MetaFrame from NCD to give access to Windows applications from X terminals; and Lotus SmartSuite, pre-configured to run with Windows NT Terminal Server Edition. The Network Manager Station will ship from mid-October, priced at $695 (#419).
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