TechnologyAccounting SoftwareMicrosoft licencing on the up

Microsoft licencing on the up

Microsoft says customers are buying into its new licencing offerings in increasing numbers ahead of the 31 July deadline - but admits many are looking at other options.

Microsoft licensing manager Sue Page told VNU News Net: ‘We have seen significant increase in the numbers of Upgrade Advantage and Software Assurance purchasers, more than a 30% increase since the start of May and a seven-fold increase since this time last year’

Analysts had claimed that one in three customers will buy into the controversial licence programme before the 31 July deadline. After this date companies wishing to upgrade software will have to buy completely new licences unless they are enrolled in one of Microsoft’s maintenance programmes.

Page said the proportion of Microsoft UK’s revenues that come from annual payment licences such as UA and SA and enterprise licences has doubled since the new pricing model began in October.

She said the Microsoft licensing call centre is fielding 1400 calls per week, and resellers are reporting 10-fold increase in calls.

But according to a survey by Microsoft reseller Wstore, 30% of customers have considered alternatives to Microsoft. Page said Microsoft is not concerned because software purchases are not made on a simple price comparison : ‘If 30 per cent are looking [at other software] we aren’t worried. Looking at the options is a sensible business decision.’

‘We know there is a group of customers that won’t be doing anything because they’ve got a long upgrade cycle, and that’s perfectly legitimate. The customers I’m worried about are the ones that want to upgrade in the next couple of years but aren’t doing anything. They could be missing a good opportunity,’ she said.

Page warned that if customers leave the decision any longer, they could find key staff away on holiday when plans have to be made: “Talk to resellers now. Even if you don’t upgrade don’t leave it until the last day. Some of your key people might not be around to help with the decision.”

Wstore chief executive Tony Price said: ‘Purchases of UA and SA are definitely increasing with customers trying to protect their investment. Some customers feel a bit forced but know they’ve got to do it, but there are others that think it’s great for their business. It’s very busy at the moment.’

Price said many companies were diverting budgets previously meant for hardware into paying for the Microsoft licences.

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