MS tweaks Software Assurance again

Prices frozen

For Sale sign detail

Microsoft is tweaking its Software Assurance program again and promising to make the unpopular licensing scheme more loved by customers and partners.

Software Assurance is a way for firms to spread payments for software licences as well as getting maintenance and integration advice.

Some criticised its earlier incarnations as too expensive and offering few benefits beyond automatic upgrades - customers complained that upgrading software was a business problem not a benefit.

Ram Dhaliwal, Microsoft UK’s new licensing programme manager, said: “There will be no changes in prices.” He talked up the benefits of desktop deployment planning services which include vouchers for consultants to help with installing software.

Dhaliwal said SA was suitable for all sizes of companies not just enterprises. He recommended online tools to help decide which license would be least expensive.

He said the new scheme has listened to customers and is tied more tightly to how they use Microsoft’s software.

Software Assurance was introduced in 2002. Most of the changes were announced last September - see this story.

Corporate customers not signing up to Software Assurance will not be able to upgrade to Vista Enterprise.

More details from Microsoft here

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