If you can't beat them, manage them. It's a strategy that has worked well for Microsoft in the past, and it is emerging as a key element in announcements last week about how Microsoft will license Windows 8 in all its variations, including the x86 consumer, Professional and Enterprise editions, the embedded Windows RT and the cloud-based Windows Intune.
While Microsoft's primary goal is to stop Apple's growth in the enterprise, which it will do by tilting licensing policies in favor of Windows tablets, the company has a Plan B that will help monetize Apple and Android devices in the enterprise through management.
Rights are limited Without Changes
The most obvious way that Microsoft has tilted licensing in its favor is a provision that exempts devices running Windows RT from special virtualization licensing.
Today, most desktop virtualization rights are limited to customers who purchase Software Assurance (SA), Microsoft's upgrade and benefits add-on for volume licensees, when they buy Windows OS upgrades. (Microsoft doesn't sell full Windows licenses through volume-licensing programs.) SA, which costs up to $55 a year, gives businesses the right to run multiple virtual machines on their desktops and to access remote virtual machines.