Page Two

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

The enhancements were an effort by Microsoft to reconnect with those customers and show them that it has responded to their concerns, she said. Free training is one of the areas Microsoft is adding to its Software Assurance offering, she said, noting that there are several offerings in this regard. Customers will get the e-learning online training module of Microsofts different products as well as vouchers that will allow them to get free classroom training from Microsofts Certified Technical Education Centers to be trained for certification in running Microsoft products.
"Depending on how many licenses a customer buys and under which program, the benefits scale. So, the largest customer under an Enterprise Agreement could get up to 150 single-day training vouchers for the life of their contract, to be used by as they like," LaBrunerie said. "A smaller customer might get three or four. In general, the more Software Assurance you buy from us, the more benefits we will provide you. The customers we have spoken to really feel this benefit adds value, as the first thing they cut in a tight economy is training."
Customers also asked for additional technical support for Microsofts server products. While this is broken down according to whether customers have the standard or enterprise version of the software and depends on the licensing program under which the software was bought, it essentially ranges from free Web-based technical support during business hours to unlimited free phone support anytime. "All Software Assurance customers will also get free licenses for our TechNet product, which costs about $1,000 a user on average today, either online or under our CD subscription program," LaBrunerie said.

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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