No Outlook for you! Exchange 2007 Licensing Change


Nothing ruins a great product launch like brilliant Microsoft licensing. Exchange 2007 will be no different, take a look at whats raising the blood pressure around Exchange communities:

Outlook 2007 grant for Exchange Server 2003 CAL customers

Unlike prior versions, Exchange Server 2007 Standard or Enterprise does not include the right to install Outlook on devices for which CALs are obtained. However, for each Exchange Server CAL, Core CAL Suite or Enterprise CAL Suite with active Software Assurance coverage as of November 30, 2006, customers will be granted one Office Outlook 2007 license. The right to use Outlook under that license expires upon expiration of the corresponding CAL. Use of Outlook under this offering is subject to the customers’ license agreement and the product use rights for that product. If Software Assurance coverage on the corresponding CAL is maintained continuously (i.e., renewed with no lapse in coverage), and one later version of Office Outlook (i.e., N+1, where N=Office Outlook 2007) is made available prior to the expiration of that coverage, customers’ license will be for that version instead. Alternatively, customers are eligible to acquire Software Assurance coverage for that Office Outlook license, provided that coverage is acquired by February 28, 2007. Customers who wish to acquire Software Assurance coverage for Office Outlook after that date must first acquire a new license for the version of Office Outlook that is current at the time coverage is acquired.

So unless you were on Microsoft Exchange 2003 with Software Assurance by November 30th, 2006 you will not be getting a copy of Outlook 2007 when you upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2007.

This is going to pose a significant problem for companies that have budgeted Microsoft Exchange 2007 purchase but have not made plans to move to Microsoft Office 2007.

My Opinion:

This is either brilliant or idiotic, I am not sure which. On one hand, this will force the customers to see even more value in Software Assurance, a program that has been seen by many as a relatively worthless set of benefits with no worth-while upgrades over the past few years. On the other hand, this eliminates Microsoft Outlook as the defacto Microsoft Exchange user interface and shifts more users to OWA and Windows Mobile.

End game? Microsoft gets more Software Assurance subscribers but opens the door wide open for Open Office. Now if they were just smart enough to create a web-only desktop and integrate OWA with the productivity tools at Office Online…. Wait, wasn’t that  Google’s supposed plan all along? Booya!