Feeds

MS doubles prices for enterprise customers

Pay up, lose OEM support... then buy your support from us

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Microsoft has introduced a price increase that will affect customers of its Select enterprise license scheme. According to the Gartner Group, a subtle change in policy will double the cost of Windows where businesses use imaging programs, such as Norton Ghost for convenience. That snares 60 per cent of all enterprises.

"Microsoft is benefiting from confusion related to this issue to increase revenue from upgrade licenses... Microsoft has effectively doubled the licensing cost for Windows," says Gartner in a research note.

It works like this. Many of Microsoft's business customers typically use the Select licensing program, and burn a tailored version of this software for their desktops. But they also receive OEM copies of Windows bundled with their PCs. Previously, they were allowed to "reimage" the Select copy of Windows to overwrite the bundled OEM version. Not any more - now they'll have to choose from one of four upgrade programs priced between $117 and $151 per desktop.

But it gets worse. OEMs don't like their version of Windows being overwritten with a version unknown, and so reimaging nullifies the OEM support contract. And Select doesn't cover you for support - that'll be another $375 per support request.

This doesn't affect all enterprises - if you're using a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that includes a mandatory Upgrade Advantage (UA), of if you don't reimage your desktop PCs, or if you've already got an agreement with your OEM to use programs such as Ghost, then you're in the clear. But the majority of enterprises will be affected says Gartner, and it issues the following advice.

It says customers should pressure Microsoft to alter their OEM terms. "The right to reimage a machine using Select media with exactly the same version of a Windows OS purchased from the OEM is not unreasonable but is now not permitted. Further, OEM support should not be lost," advises Gartner.

It also suggests pressuring Microsoft to allow the use of the OEM Windows image as the base for enterprise wide roll-outs. But the End User Licensing Agreement that comes with the OEM Windows doesn't always permit this. Alternatively, have the OEM create the image CD for you, or ... stop imaging altogether.

Thanks to the Kafkaesque nature of Microsoft licensing, Gartner even suggests that if you're planning on using Windows 2000, then buying a machine with Windows 9x preinstalled, and then purchasing a specific upgrade license, this will still be cheaper than buying Windows 2000 with one of the other upgrade schemes.

Gartner observes that the advice is being given in the form a Q and A issued to field salesmen, so there's the faintest element of plausible deniability in that this was driven from the top of the organisation. But we can't help wondering how the Supreme Court will view this development, when it has to weigh whether the Microsoft monopoly has harmed customers by raising prices. The news comes in the week that Microsoft raised issued prices for Windows Millenium consumer upgrades. ®

Related Stories:
MS WinME 'promotional' deal is a disguised price hike

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?