Microsoft sweetens licensing terms

16 September 2005 Microsoft has unveiled further modifications to its controversial software licensing programme, a sign of the continuing uncertainty felt by users over the value of the programme.


In future, Microsoft will add unlimited web support and 10 days of free planning and consultancy on upgrades and migrations for customers that sign up to its Software Assurance plan.

The Software Assurance licensing model grants users the rights to receive any upgrade released during the lifetime of the contract. In exchange, Microsoft receives a regular licence payment.

But the scheme proved to be controversial when it was unveiled in 2001, with users fearful that the new subscription service would be more expensive than purchasing upgrades as and when required.

Since then, Microsoft has bundled additional benefits into the Software Assurance model, but even so, has failed to convince some high profile users of the benefits.

Earlier this month, retail chain the House of Fraser revealed that it was opting out of Software Assurance, in favour of buying new licences outright when it decided to upgrade its Microsoft products.

Microsoft said in a statement that its latest changes demonstrated its “commitment to listen to customer feedback and extend the value of Software Assurance beyond that of a typical maintenance offering.”

Most of the new features will be available from March 2006.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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