Action Pack clarification – documented, welcome, wise

Action Pack clarification – documented, welcome, wise

Never has there been and likely never shall there be a more tumultuous month for the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) than what we’ve just been through. It was bad enough that Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007 were released to the public well before the January Action Pack shipped, and that Exchange 2007 will have to wait until April for MAPS subscribers. Then came the announcement that MAPS software licenses all expired at the end of each annual subscription, forcing subscribers to upgrade to the latest products if they wanted to keep their licenses valid. Couple that with the sudden realization among many subscribers (myself not include, I must point out) that there was a change made last July regarding Windows desktop licenses (they are now upgrade-only, rather than full versions).

Anyway, the Action Pack and Small Business teams got a mouthful from many in the partner community and organized a webcast to answer questions about MAPS. I have to give credit to Eric Ligman and Tram Nguyen. They stayed on the phone until every question was answered. (It reminded me of the West Wing episode when Alan Alda gave a press conference following the nuclear reactor accident.) More importantly, they have now either changed the policy regarding license expiration or simply clarified it. Forced upgrades are no more.

I’ve updated the wiki I created with my take on the answers to questions that I and other posed before the webcast.

Several other consultants have voiced their own opinions about MAPS and the webcast, including Vlad Mazek (again and again), Chris Rue, and Tim Barrett, who posted the transcript from the chat portion of the webcast. Eric Ligman has already posted a couple of follow-up messages in response to webcast questions.

The bottom line for me is that MAPS is an excellent idea with just a few poor decisions and implementation gaffes thrown in. If I were King of MAPS, I’d start by enforcing the eligibility restrictions, replacing Windows Vista Business with Windows Vista Enterprise, and throwing in subscriptions to on-line Microsoft programs such as Office Live and perhaps OneCare.

The other bottom line is that I hope this all quiets down now. I have real work to do.

Posted in All, MS Licensing, Software, Technology on Feb 15th, 2007, 1:21 pm by David Schrag   

2 Responses

  1. February 15th, 2007 | 1:41 pm


    I don’t understand the need for Ultimate and Enterprise versions for MAPS, I really do not. I’m not going to guess your business segment but can you honestly say that more than even 50% of your customer base is on the Enterprise-level platform?

    The one feature that everyone brings up is bitlocker, like its the be-all, end-all of Vista security and without it not a single copy would move. Given that most consultants field machines are destructive by nature, as they are constantly reloaded to give the latest demo pieces, is it absolutely critical for this feature to be present on the laptop to the point that the business owner – without seeing it live on your laptop – would fail to see the need for disk based encryption? Or is it a perception “Hey, if David isn’t using it, it must not be needed” thats a show stopper.

    What I fail to understand is why there is such a strong push by the partners that focus in SMB to get the enterprise level tools when I’m constantly hearing about the injustice of overpriced Microsoft software. So we need a $4,000 OS in MAPS but can’t sell a $600 server with a 3 year SA spread payments?

    I guess what I’m trying to get from you is the answer to this: If you do not focus in a segment with a major need for enterprise software, why should you be extended access to enterprise software?


  2. February 15th, 2007 | 8:58 pm

    Generally, I agree with you, and I would say that the real problem is not that Vista Enterprise was left out of MAPS. The real problem is that BitLocker and VM rights were left out of Vista Business. I don’t understand what about BitLocker is so “enterprise-y” and I do think that VM rights are critical for those of us who are experimenting with software.

    The other problem, as you know, is that I’m a stickler for logic and consistency. So why does MAPS include InfoPath, Live Communications Server, System Center Data Protection Manager, and Exchange Enterprise (not anymore, but it used to)? I’d happily give back all of those in Exchange for Vista Enterprise.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve personally have NEVER advocated for inclusion of Ultimate in MAPS. Once I learned that we’re not allowed to use MAPS software for the computers in our living rooms, I was no longer interested in Ultimate.

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