As a developer that creates applications for small businesses I continue to be baffled by what seems like an attack from Microsoft on Small Business.

For those of you who are wondering what I’m talking about, with Windows 8 Microsoft launched WinRT applications – those full screen applications that are tablet-friendly.  That’s great if you’re a developer who wants to make an application generic enough for the entire world to consume on the Windows store.  But if you’re a developer who creates applications for small business you’re out of luck, because unlike every previous release of Windows where you could just create an application and it could be installed, such is not the case for WinRT.

To be able to load a WinRT application (even one you’ve written yourself) on Windows 8 you have to pay Microsoft for the privilege of doing so.

As Rockford Lhotka so eloquently describes in his blog on the subject: http://www.lhotka.net/weblog/Windows8WinRTSideloadingUpdate.aspx Microsoft has created a model whereby only the largest of enterprises could possibly afford to create WinRT apps.  The cost for a small business is absolutely insane as a percentage of the cost of the custom application. 

For example, Microsoft’s “Minimum” increment for purchasing a “Side Loading” license as of this writing is 100 licenses.  (Even if you only have 5 computers in your small business, you still have to purchase 100 licenses).  In this example on Rockford’s site: http://www.lhotka.net/weblog/CostToEnableSideloadingOnAWindows8Device.aspx the 3 year cost for 100 side loading licenses plus the required annual fees to Microsoft make this work out to $22,600.

So if you only have 5 PCs, you still have to pay $4,520 over three years PER DEVICE for the privilege of running software THAT YOU WROTE YOURSELF!!!

If this doesn’t change soon, I know I’ll never write a WinRT app.  Why would you?  Why would ANYONE EVER want to write a WinRT app with these kinds of costs?

There’s a similar story with the recent licensing changes to SQL Server 2012.  We used to license SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition for our hosted customers.  With the release of SQL Server 2012, Microsoft change the licensing such that for our small business customers with 5-10 licenses for example, costs went up by over 10,000%. 

These types of price increases send a clear message to small business: WE DO NOT WANT YOU AS CUSTOMERS.

Seems insane when just a few years ago Microsoft was all about engaging small business customers. 

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