The Difficulty in Finding
Value"> To some observers, Microsoft efforts have been aimed at keeping the lid on the situation, not on addressing core concerns over delivering real value. "No matter how you spin it, the changes are designed to make unhappy customers less unhappy," said James Governor, principal analyst at RedMonk LLC, of Bath, Md. "Because they havent delivered more functionality, theyre focusing more on the operational aspects of the licenses. Thats useful, but somewhat opportunistic." On the other hand, Software Assurance suffers when compared with Linux vendor Red Hat Inc.s controversial subscription licensing plan. Customers found value because Linuxs faster evolution is able to deliver significant improvements on an annual basis.The best deal for customers would be to subscribe to specific product upgrades, whenever they might arrive, though such an offer is next to impossible to find from any software vendor, much less Microsoft. "Thats a radical notion in the software industry which, frankly, is unregulated," said DiDio. RedMonks Governor said Microsoft may be forced to bend a bit in this direction due to competitive pressures, particularly from Linux. The open-source operating system has beaten out Windows in a few high-profile deals, including the German city Munichs recent decision to shift its desktops from Microsoft to Linux, he observed. "Dont imagine [Microsoft] didnt go to Munich and offer specific software upgrades. Their licensing is going to have to be more granular," Governor said. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
In the absence of a more rapid pace of development at Microsoft, analysts said the company will have to find some other way of making customers feel that theyre only paying for what they use.