Unless I’m not reading this right, Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, have put a limit on how many copies of Vista Ultimate you can receive for your software assured copies of Windows…
Clarifying the Role of Windows Vista Ultimate in Software Assurance for Enterprise Customers
Windows Vista Enterprise is the ideal operating system for enterprise customers, whereas, Windows Vista Ultimate is ideal for consumer scenarios and is useful for enterprise customers in conference and training rooms.
With this in mind, Windows Vista Ultimate entitlements for new customers with Software Assurance coverage for Windows Client licenses have changed:
Customers with fewer than 600 Windows Vista Enterprise licenses are eligible to receive 5 Windows Vista Ultimate product keys
Customers with 600 or more Windows Vista Enterprise licenses are eligible to receive one Windows Vista Ultimate product key for every 100 Windows Vista Enterprise licenses
So before you could get Ultimate for every copy you had software assurance on. Now it reads that you can only have 5 for the first 600. So they’ve actually taken away your right to use more than 5 via your Software Assurance.
As I’ve stated before, Software Assurance is effectively just an upgrade program. They can put more stuff into it all day long, but none of my small to medium sized business customers are interested in anything but the software itself and I’m sure they’re going to be hopping mad when they find out that some marketing or legal dufus has decided that they should take this away in hopes of increasing their bottom line in Ultimate upgrade sales.
The main argument I’ve heard against Ultimate is that you can’t manage it in a group policy environment. If that’s true, who controls that? Microsoft does. Who’s a bunch of lazy <insert expletive here>s for not making it manageable in the first place? Again, Microsoft are. So in the end, that argument has no merit at all.
The other flaw in this logic is that Enterprise has no upgrade path to Ultimate and vice versa. The basic difference between the two is Media Center functionality. So, if you have a machine with Enterprise on it you can not upgrade or move to Ultimate without a reinstall of the OS. This is a really dumb move on Microsoft’s part. Ever since they came out with Ultimate they have screwed it up one way or another by omitting pieces of the other editions from it. The whole idea of Ultimate is to be the edition that includes everything and not just some of the pieces of the other editions. That is how it was marketed anyway. If it isn’t that then change the name to Media Center Edition and stop talking about it like it is that.
Just my $0.02.