UK plc hates MS licence terms (true)

Time is not of the essence

This week Microsoft delayed the imposition of controversial new terms and conditions for volume purchases.

The start date for the new and potentially much more expensive regime is now 31 July 2002, ten months later than originally planned.

But UK licensing manager Duncan Reid told us today that Microsoft will not review the terms for the new system. Instead, the company hopes to use this time to explain to its customers why the licensing scheme is better than the old one.

Microsoft's new terms provoked the annoyance of members of The Infrastructure Forum (TIF) and the British Computer Society (BCS), both of which have raised their concerns om public.

TIF members - including such giants as the BBC, BP, Argos, Cadbury Schweppes, Dixons, Marks & Spencer, GlaxoSmithKline, Shell - have yet to discuss their next plan of action. Until this meeting takes place, the organisation will not formally discuss its members' views.

However the organisation warns Microsoft that it should not think that it's business as usual.

A TIF spokesman told us: "We welcome the additional time that Microsoft has given but time is not the issue. Microsoft needs to gain a better understanding of the degree of concern."

Duncan Reid insists that Microsoft is listening to feedback and that this was the reason for the second delay. However, MS is "comfortable with the programme as it stands now". It looks as though an almighty row is brewing.

John Lamb, the editor of IT strategy, the official publication of the BCS forum for IT directors, says: "The user groups that are complaining about this are normally pretty quiet and like to sort things out behind closed doors. They have claimed there are very large sums of money at stake - which is a complete contradiction to what Microsoft has said. I don't think anyone is fooled by what Microsoft is saying and it appears as though it felt it could bulldoze this through without too much trouble."

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