Microsoft Ends iPad’s Free RideRumor has it that Microsoft’s Windows 8, once it’s officially released in fall 2012, could give Apple’s iPad a run for its money. In the meantime, Microsoft has thrown an obstacle in the path of iPad users who access Windows 7 via virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

According to Kevin McLaughlin in his article for CRN, Microsoft will no longer allow iPad and Android users to enjoy remote access free of charge. The introduction of a Companion Device License (CDL) did not go over well, particularly because it only applies to those who use non-Windows tablet PCs. Explains McLaughlin, Microsoft will add the new optional CDL to its Software Assurance (SA) volume licensing agreement with Windows 8, “which gives customers the right to access corporate desktops through VDI on up to four personally owned devices.” Companies that are covered by the SA whose employees use iPads or Android tablets for VDI will have to buy the CDL. Microsoft has yet to determine or disclose how much it plans to charge for this new license.

This extra expense could cause a hardship for some small-business owners. And lack of remote access could definitely inconvenience them. Since Windows 8 was designed to be used with a tablet, those small-business owners who are in the market for new mobile devices for their employees might want to save themselves the added expense of the CDL by purchasing Windows RT devices instead of iPads or Android tablet PCs.

Virtualisation has become commonplace in most businesses these days, and remote access is a vital part of business continuity. For those who use iPads or Android tablets for remote access to their companies’ networks, Microsoft intends to increase the cost of doing business.

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