Ryan Triplette, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing, recently joined Evan Swarztrauber, Senior Advisor at the Lincoln Network, on “The Dynamist” podcast to discuss how software licensing in the cloud has become too restrictive, which harms consumers and businesses alike.
In an episode titled, “Is Software Licensing in the Cloud Unfair?,” Triplette explains how these restrictive practices by legacy providers make it more difficult for businesses and governments to operate. Triplette also discusses the solutions policymakers can pursue to address and remedy these issues.
Check out highlights from the episode below:
On the Booming Cloud Market
“[We want to] ensure that customers are able to have full flexibility and [the ability] to choose all these different cloud service offerings that are coming up. Fundamentally, this is really about competition…We want to ensure that there is robust growth and customers are able to access it.”
On How Restrictive Software Licensing Harms Customers
“What’s interesting is, over the past couple of years, you’ve seen some companies that provide software and have adjacent cloud services, beginning to condition this discount. Not on the number of software licenses they’re using, but on the adoption of their own cloud service…
“This presents the customer with a lot of double-edged swords, and frankly, it imposes costs no matter what…
“Let’s say [the customer] has been using an alternative cloud service provider, while they’re looking at the costs being two, three, or four times more for the core productivity software, or other software that they need to run their business…
“Or they’re [having] to go through an entirely different migration process to use the software provider’s own cloud services. This is not cheap…It has an exponential cost. So you’re looking at potential cost-savings on the software, but unexpected costs on the new cloud service. So it’s been putting a lot of customers, both on the government side and on the commercial side, in a difficult position.”
On Vendor Lock-Ins
“When you’re locked into a single vendor, those switching costs are significant. It’s not a matter of ‘I’m gonna pay one month’s rent or one month’s fees’ for this service. You’re looking at kind of a wholesale cost.”
On Cybersecurity Concerns of Restrictive Software Licensing
“You want to make sure that you, as a vendor, are able to effectively secure and ensure the security of your products. Well, there’s an interesting thing that happens when you have the vendor that’s selling you the productivity software and also selling you the security service…
“In resiliency plans, you want to have a diversification of vendors. It is one of the ‘best practices’ out there, [making] sure you have different vendors looking for different things. So, while you can make the argument that there are cybersecurity concerns, it’s also for the same reason that you want to make sure that you can have a diversity of cybersecurity providers that catch everything, and there’s not a twisted interest.”
On the Coalition’s Principles
“The first one being, licensing terms should be clear and intelligible. This is something that’s been met with resistance and it’s interesting why. This fundamentally just says that, as a customer, be it the government, a corporate entity, or me as an individual, I should be able to understand the license that I’m getting into.”
To learn more about how the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing is working to unlock greater customer choice, innovation, and security in the cloud by advocating for the adoption of the Principles of Fair Software Licensing, please click here.