By simplifying its licensing plan, Cisco is cleaning up a mess that's the company's own fault, according to Hewlett-Packard.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) last week introduced Cisco ONE, a licensing proposal that unbundles software from hardware. Cisco touted the plan as allowing customers to upgrade hardware and software independent of each other, transferring software licenses to new hardware and -- alternately -- upgrading software without having to get new equipment. (See Cisco Gives Its Software Licensing a Makeover.)
Cisco touted Cisco ONE as a licensing plan that fits the agility required of the new digital economy.
But HP was unimpressed, saying Cisco is solving a problem that it created itself.
"Cisco's approach to licensing up to now has been a morass of complexity and price-maximization," HP said in a blog post signed by Gloria Caughlin, HP Competitive Marketing. For a router, for example, customers needed to buy a base license, security license, and possibly different licenses for export restrictions and voice. "Cisco's own web site talks of 'hundreds of separately priced software features.'"
"Cisco's license management support has been ineffective," Caughlin says, requiring customers to keep track of licenses, and serial numbers of hardware attached to the licenses.
Not surprisingly, HP finds its own licensing model a shining example -- "simple and straightforward" -- compared with even Cisco's new licensing structure.
Caughlin goes on to criticize Cisco as an SDN laggard, "totally committed to its proprietary, hardware-focused approach."
I've got a query in to Cisco to respond to what HP has to say, but haven't heard back from them. Perhaps they can't respond to email because they're sobbing too uncontrollably at the mean things HP said.
Or maybe they all went home -- it was after 5:00 p.m. PT when I sent the message.