snydeq writes: "Recent remarks by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggest that Microsoft keeps its licensing complicated for a reason, and that it has no plans to make it any simpler in the foreseeable future. As Ballmer sees it, complicated licensing is a boon for some customers, allowing them 'to use the fine print to save themselves money.' IT, however, sees the matter differently — especially when it comes to Client Access Licenses (CALs), which some consider 'the most evil thing Microsoft has ever done.' Microsoft's licensing is unique in that it requires companies to purchase CALs for each employee who uses Microsoft's business software, in addition to whatever per-CPU pricing they pay for a piece of software. And for IT, knowing whether enough CALs have been purchased to keep from violating their Microsoft licensing agreement is daunting, analysts contend. The result? 'Customers end up buying more than they need, thus paying for licenses they aren't using.' The issue is certain to be further complicated by Microsoft's movement toward offering a mix of traditional software and hosted services."