10 May 2002 Two thirds of Microsoft’s biggest customers have not yet signed up for the new subscription software licensing scheme being forced through by the software giant, according to research by analysts at Gartner and Giga Information Group.
Microsoft customers have until 31 July to join the new Software Assurance licensing programme, but about 30% of businesses surveyed were adamant that they have no intention of doing so. Another 30% of Microsoft customers said that they were undecided.
The main advantage for Microsoft is that the new system, introduced a year ago, should help steady its revenue stream. However, many users cannot see what concrete advantages the new scheme offers them.
Previously, corporate users could upgrade their software when it suited them and increasingly in recent years, many organisations have saved money by skipping major new upgrades. Under the new system, organisations must pay an annual fee to Microsoft, which will buy them the upgrades when they are released.
If companies refuse to opt for Software Assurance, they are denied the support deals and discounts offered to customers who comply. Such strong-arm tactics have only helped stoke-up opposition to the scheme. Many customers have complained that their software licensing costs could double as a result and some are actively considering alternatives.