Clock ticks on Microsoft's licensing – opposition remains

Tomorrow's the day

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Tomorrow's the day Microsoft Corp's latest licensing plan officially kicks in, and still customers resist.

An InternetWeek survey of 319 customers published yesterday has confirmed earlier surveys of massive - if slightly weaker - corporate resistance to Licensing 6.0.

Licensing 6.0 introduces three-year licensing cycles and Software Assurance (SA). SA lets customers renew their agreement at reduced cost and gives customers the right to relevant upgrades launched during that three-year period.

It is not immediately clear how much a company will pay for SA, though. A Microsoft spokesperson said SA is charged depending on what licenses a customer currently owns and their future purchasing options.

Microsoft believes there is nothing wrong or painful for customers about Licensing 6.0, but admits to fumbling the launch of the scheme. Hence resistance from customers.

Company chief executive officer Steve Ballmer said last week many customers have benefited financially from the new model. He added: "[Microsoft is] enduring short-term pain. We are smarter for the experience," he said.

Palo Alto, California-based Sun Microsystems Inc, though, believes customers are fundamentally unhappy. Sun hopes to exploit this, luring customers away from Microsoft's operating systems, desktop and internet products with Solaris, StarOffice and various Netscape offerings.

StarOffice 6.0, for example, uses a perpetual user license of between $25-50. A license can be used across five desktops. It's a model Sun believes is simple and cheap for customers.

Tony Siress, Sun senior director of marketing for desktop solutions, told Computerwire: "Customers come to us and the theme is consistently: 'Microsoft has claimed the new licensing is good for us, but we can't see where'."

InternetWeek's online poll found 40% of respondents said they will "definitely not" upgrade to Licensing 6.0, down from 45% in April, while 19% said they are unlikely to upgrade compared to 29% in April.

The poll shows 19% of respondents have not yet done anything, compared to 13%, and 8% have upgraded - compared to 6%.

© ComputerWire

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