The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

Microsoft Metered Pay-As-You-Go = The end of license management?

It has often been argued that Microsoft’s dominance in the software world might be attributed to their aggressive marketing strategy and laissez-faire approach to licensing.

  • We’ll give Microsoft Office to Schools for peanuts – the kids will grow up using it.
  • Developing countries have ridiculously high levels of piracy for our software – but not to worry, we’ll turn a blind eye to it and wait until their businesses depend on our software and their economies develop – we’ll collect the cash later.
  • Enterprise IT Managers are under pressure to deliver our software to busy users. We’ll give them an all you can eat license key and a free scatter-gun in the form of Microsoft SMS / SCCM in which to deploy across the network – we’ll collect the cash later (and also charge you for figuring out the bill).

This model is under pressure from the likes of internet giant Google and successful SaaS competitors like Salesforce who are eating into their dominant position in enterprise IT. Rich enterprise grade applications delivered via the internet. No upgrades, no hardware, no licensing headaches.

To address this trend Microsoft received approval for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office detailing technology to meter software use and access to specific computer hardware.

The abstract reads;

“A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected. The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed. An administrator may use a similar user interface to set performance levels for each computer in a network, allowing performance and cost to be set according to a user’s requirements.”

Does this spell the end of license management as we know it? Surely IT Managers would prefer to pay slightly extra safe in the knowledge they don’t need to worry about troublesome licensing programs?

What are your thoughts? Will this fly?

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.


  1. Tim says:

    Yes, I agree. As a MSP we’re allways looking for easier ways to deploy and manage Microsoft or any software. As long

    as we’re in control and the client does not have to worry about maintaining it, it’s golden all around.

    The SaaS and HaaS models

    will combine, it’s like evolution!

    Tech Central

  2. Gary P. says:

    Yes it will – in fact will see more and more of this as companies get

    comfortable with the idea.
    This is why we have even created a ApplicationTracker solution as part of our suite to address this

    specifically. This will allow you to measure actual real usage of applications/service being delivered to the desktop.
    The last thing

    you want to happen is let the fox into the chicken coop.
    So SAM roles will need to adapt to this soon.

    Technology, Inc.

  3. Rijkmann says:

    Dont agree…
    There is world behind Microsoft..So far they dont adapt this model, licensing will remain an issue.

    will lose its importance but requirement will stay there..

Leave a Comment