Microsoft defends new licensing scheme

Microsoft says that confusion is to blame for the growing discontent surrounding its new licensing program. Licensing 6.0, set to launch in August, is causing enterprise customers to threaten to ditch Windows in favour of cheaper alternatives.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  April 16, 2002

Microsoft says that confusion is to blame for the growing discontent surrounding its new licensing program. Licensing 6.0, set to launch in August, is causing enterprise customers to threaten to ditch Windows in favour of cheaper alternatives.

The Redmond giant intends to clear up this perceived misunderstanding by launching a widespread campaign to educate users, press and analysts about the new deal.

Rebecca Le Brunerie, program manger for worldwide licensing and pricing told Computerwire that “there’s a fair amount of confusion out there. There will be tons and tons of direct mail this month, briefings with subsidiaries, adverts in local papers, seminars.”

Licensing 6.0 will force customers with more than 250 seats to pay in three-year cycles, followed by an upgrade option. Customers who chose the Select or Enterprise Agreement program will also be offered another optional package called “Software Assurance”. Those who buy it will be able to renew their three-year agreement at a reduced cost. Those who don’t will have to pay the standard rate.

Microsoft argues that the new combination will be cheaper for large customers than its current licensing system. Le Brunerie explains that customers with the three-year package will receive upgrades under their contracts without having to buy new software.

“CIOs and IT managers don’t want to have the financial spike associated with different product releases. They know that in the next three years they will have the rights to it. Software assurance is not a requirement. It is upgrade protection. That’s confusing users,” she argues.

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