Microsoft Software Assurance

Microsoft upgrade plan gets cold, writes

The majority of Microsoft’s customers won’t be signing up for a controversial licensing plan set to go into effect on Thursday, according to analysts’ estimates.

Signing onto the plan, which would commit business customers to a two- or three-year annually paid contract guaranteeing the right to upgrade, will be the only way to continue buying Microsoft software at deep discounts.

The holdouts have until the end of their business day on Wednesday to sign up for the plan or risk paying full price the next time they buy software from Microsoft. They won’t get a reprieve, either. Microsoft has twice extended the deadline for the new program, but a representative said Monday that there would be no more extensions.

The reason for stiff customer resistance is simple: cost. The plan, called Licensing 6, effectively raises volume-licensing fees from 33 percent to 107 percent, according to market researcher Gartner. Microsoft also eliminated the most popular means of buying upgrades, which allowed companies to pay when they wanted new software, rather than spend money in advance for software upgrades.

Linux and OpenOffice are definitely serious alternatives which should be considered. The problem of cost becomes even more serious for companies in developing economies. The Linux-OO alternative is in fact the only sensible option. My experience with OO suggests that it is now past the “good enough” stage and merits adoption.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.