By pushing too hard, in other words, Microsoft runs the risk of pushing enterprises toward alternatives. During a time when it's threatened from several sides -- the PC industry is in a slump, corporate IT budgets are pinched -- it can't afford to lose customers.
"This is a very, very smart move for Microsoft," said Ullman of the seemingly-small price increase. "There are a lot of customers out there with user CALs, so the impact is going to be substantial. It's not going to be just a couple of dollars."
Smart on the balance books perhaps, but not when it comes to treating its customers, who Ullman said have been hit with substantial increases -- in some cases double -- on all kinds of licenses this year.
Nor was the move unexpected.
"Microsoft is a licensing company," said Ullman. "They hate me saying it, but Microsoft is a licensing company, not a software company. It's driven by licensing."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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