Microsoft Makes Changes to Licensing Plan

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-05-28 Print this article Print

Enhancements to its Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance plan include free training, support and the right to use Microsoft Office on customers' home computers.

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced enhancements to its Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance plan, implemented last year. The enhancements, which eWEEK first reported were under consideration last November, will be provided to existing Software Assurance customers and all those who sign up going forward. They will include free training, support and the right to use Microsoft Office on customers home computers. Rebecca LaBrunerie, Microsofts product manager for worldwide licensing and pricing, told eWEEK that the enhancements will be made available to all Software Assurance customers Sept. 1.
"As you know, we learned a big lesson from Licensing 6.0 about effectively communicating with our customers and making sure everyone was well-informed. We will be giving our channel partners very extensive training over the next few months and also training our own sales force so that when we make the enhancements available on Sept. 1, customers will find a very well-informed sales force," she said.
Microsoft executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer, have admitted that the changes contained in Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance were poorly conveyed to customers by the companys own sales and support teams. That resulted in much customer anger, especially among those who felt they were being strong-armed into signing up for the scheme without adequate time to evaluate the price and other implications for their businesses. While Microsoft initially introduced its Software Assurance program in May 2001, it delayed its implementation for more than a year to give customers a chance to prepare for the new model, which essentially involves having customers pay an annual fee for future software upgrades. The latest Microsoft licensing moves, LaBrunerie said, follow the Redmond, Wash., companys interactions with some 2,500 customers over the past 10 months to hear their concerns.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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