When Microsoft announced its new software-licensing programme, Software Assurance, in May 2001, there was uproar from users and analysts. Not only did it do away with off-the-shelf upgrades, meaning that businesses could no longer purchase the software that they wanted, when they wanted, most analysts said it was also going to end up costing companies more. That prophecy has come true. According to figures from the Yankee Group, which surveyed 1,000 technology managers worldwide, 60% of the companies that have signed up to Software Assurance are now paying more than they were before.
The size of those increases, however, has not been as large as expected. Early forecasts from the Gartner Group predicted that Software Assurance would push fees up by a minimum of 33% and that, for some companies, costs would more than double. According to the Yankee Group, 22% of the companies it surveyed saw their fees rise by between 5% and 20%, while 28% said there was no change and 11% actually reported a reduction in costs.