Compulsory Windows: for Macs, and people without PCs?

Microsoft has come up with another novel way to make its software compulsory - an annual subscription licensing system for schools where you have to pay for all of the computers you're using, even if you don't want them to run the Microsoft software you're licensing. This includes Macs, and although the Ts & Cs of the agreement don't make it entirely clear what you're supposed to do with the Windows upgrades you end up buying for these machines, we bet putting them on E-bay isn't a recommended option.

The precise implementation of the agreement seems to vary depending on what part of the world you're in, but the inclusion of Macs in the headcount, and the insistence that you have to count all PCs rather than just a specific number you want to license, is probably general. In the US "Microsoft Schools Agreement 3.0," for example, "100 per cent of all Pentiums, Power Macs, iMacs or better" are specified, whereas the FAQ document for the UK Microsoft School Agreement says "You need to count 100% of all Pentiums, Power Macs and iMacs."

The requirement is to some extent explicable in that schools operating both Intel and Apple machines are likely to want to standardise on applications, so it makes sense for them to tally up all of the machines in order to buy, say, Microsoft Office licences. But that presupposes that they're going to want to be able to do absolutely the same thing with every machine they own, and therefore license absolutely the same software for them, which is obviously not going to be true for everybody. Microsoft explains the requirement in near-religious terms: "School Agreement requires an institution-wide commitment."

News source: The Register - Compulsory Windows: for Macs, and people without PCs?

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