Microsoft's plans to add processor-based licensing to its new server applications, which will ship later this year, will crack down on piracy, according to a leading analyst.
The software giant said last week that it would move towards processor-based licensing on its SQL Server 2000 database at its launch. It will also provide similar licensing for other DNA 2000 server products, including Commerce Server 2000, BizTalk Server 2000 and Application Server 2000.
Clive Longbottom, director at industry analyst Strategy Partners, said: "This makes it far easier for Microsoft to administer and enforce licences."
At present, Microsoft audits of corporates suspected of software piracy could take weeks, while it checks which users had access to which systems, he said. Under new licensing arrangements, the manufacturer would have to simply check how many CPUs the user had.
Longbottom said that most corporate customers would benefit in the long run from the new licence changes, although some of them could pay more in the short term. "It comes down to just how efficiently large customers use their software. If they have many users on a server, then they will find that this is a much cheaper option," he said.
Traditionally, the company has allowed corporate users to add client access licences as they added new users.
Microsoft's move follows similar announcements by IBM and Oracle last year. Longbottom said SQL Server was the most obvious product for Microsoft to introduce per-processor licensing on because of its complexity and the potential for many users to access it simultaneously.
The vendor could expand per-processing licensing to include Exchange and the Office family of products, Longbottom added.
SQL Server pricing will be $4,999 (£3,320) per processor in the standard edition and $19,999 for the enterprise edition. Microsoft is also selling per-user licences at $1,489 for a standard five-user edition and $11,099 for 25 users.
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