I’m gonna cheat and add the time wasted on a couple of different computers, and not just to browse geek sites or catch up on the hot sales at Craigslist. I’m talking about the infuriating software pushed by Microsoft. Sometime last year the school district moved from Exchange to the (can you hear the harps?) cloud based Office 365 that is given to education entities for free – or so they told us. And by they, I mean the people who had to review the proposal. How can you argue against free? Let’s see, what does Microsoft say about pricing for Exchange? They have a web page so you can calculate it.. let me just check that out for you. Ok. Well, I got a pop up saying that it only works with Explorer… click allow using Chrome add-on ScriptSafe, and then allow again for the next script that gets sucked in and.. dammit! It truly does not work with Chrome. Even the basic drop down menus just sit there, mocking me. So Microsoft is not going to help to me in this story about how expensive they are. Over at TechSoup, the Guide to Exchange Server Editions and Licensing tries to describe the differences. Not very well here though. What is a mailbox database? I guess if I were to really want Exchange I would find out.
So TechSoup says if you are a big organization like, say a school district, get the Enterprise version. Retail (not the educational pricing) for Enterprise Exchange 2016 is $3,940 over at Buycheapsoftware.com and that allows you to buy licenses for people to actually connect at another $50 or so each. Forget about whatever other licensing you already need to get to the point where you can actually check your email. Windows 10 Pro (we are talking about a business here, ignoring Active Directory and associated pricing) is $127. I’m shooting for the moon with the Office package… includes the install media, Outlook, Access, Excel, Word, etc. at $295.
Next, we use Skype for Business. It used to be called Lync and we also used to use Office Communicator. According to Lync Insider, the enterprise retail price is probably north of $10k if we did it in-house. I can’t tell from the Office suite description if Skype is included or not. Let’s be generous and say that it is. No extra desktop cost. I mean if we have paid $10k for the server (with CALs included, of course) then we can overlook any extra cost there might be for the Skype client.
(Real) Free is starting to look a lot better.