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Dodgy discounts offered ahead of MS licensing deadline?

Buy the upgrade programme without the product, allegedly...

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An informant in the channel writes alleging Microsoft customers (or even more so, non-Microsoft customers) have an opportunity to achieve spectacular discounts in the last-minute sales rush before tomorrow's Licensing 6.0 deadline. As you know, 31st July is your absolute last chance to do something about your Microsoft licensing situation prior to the new regime kicking in tomorrow, and as you also may have heard, many customers remain deeply unenthusiastic.

But they might be a little more enthusiastic if they thought they could deploy new Microsoft product at upgrade prices even if they don't actually have the basic licences to upgrade from. Interested? We thought you would be.

We have as yet been unable to substantiate this deplorable allegation, but our source claims that sales people have been indulging in something of a bonanza by selling upgrade advantage and software assurance licences to customers who don't have the basic licence. Microsoft does not, he says, have any mechanisms for tracking all existing licences, this being particularly the case where the product may or may not have been bought at retail, and there is therefore no record of the customer's name. Microsoft has spent a while trying to get smaller businesses into its volume schemes, where they'd previously been buying retail, so there will be plenty of genuine companies in this position.

And as you're no doubt aware, the software industry's eligibility checking for upgrades is generally pretty flimsy; "upgrade" pricing on little to zero evidence is even used as a competitive weapon at times. So there's some sense in this fellow's story, no?

Rather than just casting a blind eye on possible abuses initiated by the customer, however, he suggests sales teams are themselves triggering these deals. They'll offer an alleged "special clearance" in consideration of the customer having lost the receipt, or something, but seem to get less specific if the customer asks for a commitment in writing. Shocking if true, but we've all seen how commission can tempt salespeople over to The Dark Side.

Our tipster suggests that the practice is rife in many Microsoft subsidiaries, and that general managers have issued internal emails telling the salespeople to knock it off. It will of course knock itself off to some extent at midnight, and it'll ease up after that (because once you're renting, they know where you live), but the text would still be interesting, for historical reasons. Anyone? ®

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