Microsoft Preps More Licensing Concessions

Redmond is working to make Software Assurance right by customers by throwing them more bones this fall.

Microsoft is continuing to try to make amends for the mistakes it made when it launched its Software Assurance volume-licensing scheme last fall.

The latest concession: The Redmond software giant is adding a new option to its licensing terms to allow customers who purchase products through OEMs (PC and server makers) to sign up for Software Assurance.

Starting with Office 2003, Microsoft will allow customers to enroll their OEM licenses for Office Professional 2003 and/or Office Small Business Edition 2003 in the Software Assurance program. OEMs are slated to begin offering customers machines preloaded with Office 2003 in late September; retail availability of the product is set at October 21.

See Microsofts Partner Site For the Full Details on the OEM Offer

Microsoft has other concessions coming, several of which take effect on September 1.

Among the new, previously announced Software Assurance freebies on tap for Monday are more Web-based tech support; training for specific products; home-use rights for Office; and new software tools, like corporate error-reporting, for Software Assurance customers and their IT Managers.

Get Details on the Sept. 1 Software Assurance Terms On Tap

Later next month, when Microsoft begins rolling out Office 2003 to its volume-license customers, other concessions will kick in. This summer, Microsoft announced that it plans to offer certain Office Standard Edition customers the right to upgrade to Office Professional Edition at no extra cost.

While it hammers out details of these myriad licensing programs, Microsoft is continuing to forge ahead with an initiative it began more than a year ago to simplify licensing across the boards. Originally called "Licensing Simplification," the effort, now called "Licensing Rationalization" - aims to make all Microsofts licensing programs more coherent and cohesive.

"Its going to get worse before it gets better," warns licensing product manager Rebecca LaBrunerie. Especially because "one persons simplification is anothers lack of choice."

Making Amends, to the Tune of $20 Million