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CRN: Talk about that crucial meeting. Who was in it?
Roskill: It was a WPC prep meeting, in March just over a year ago. A number of the [divisional] presidents were in it, all of the speechwriters, making sure we were aligned on what the message was, what we were going to be talking about at WPC.
I wouldn't say it was a huge fight. I'd say it was more of a transition the company was going through. Just the fact that Steve declared that [about the importance of partners] to me was a big deal.
CRN: Talk about the VDI issue and why you made this licensing decision. Will you use it as a hammer to prevent Android and iOS devices from being used in the bring-your-own-device market? It flies in the face of some of things you've done with Systems Center.
Roskill: This is a decision made by a product group. It is taking into consideration the inclusiveness. We recognize that competitive solutions like the iPad are going to be in our enterprise [customer] installed base. So one of the issues, when we look at it, many of them are trying to figure out how to run Windows apps on these things. This is a direct way to help them solve this business problem.
While at the same time we want to be paid and monetize our value-add. So it's fine that these things are coming in. We think we've got value-add to add on top of these. We do think we've got a strategy to help IT to get control of what, in some cases, is chaos. I've heard of customers that are moving to public Wi-Fi for their internal IT. And there are a number of issues [such as] security that arise around that.
Ross: Well, it's a companion device. When you look at the number of iPad devices that sit in the enterprise that are basically accessing and running Windows 7, using it and getting value out of the software, there wasn't [any] monetization that was associated with those things. We are being inclusive also by creating a clear licensing model that allows you to be able to run Windows 7 on those devices. It wasn't as clear before.
I sit on the commercial licensing council. The [goal] was to make this as clean and as clear as possible. Don't introduce seventeen different layers and all these other things, just make it really simple so people know what they need to do to be able to monetize and effectively run those licenses.
Roskill: And perhaps, most importantly, it creates a lot of partner opportunities. You talk about desktop virtualization. It's clearly a business that we see exploding as well. We believe we're coming at this with a strong perspective.