Microsoft to Add More Enticements to Software Assurance

Microsoft will announce a number of enhancements to its subscription-licensing program, including Vista, Eiger and Virtual Express additions. (Microsoft Watch)

Microsoft is continuing to seek to undo the negative perception many customers share about its Software Assurance subscription-licensing program.

On Sept. 15, the company is set to unveil via Webcast the latest bunch of new benefits designed to entice more customers to sign up for Software Assurance.

Among the enhancements set to be unveiled are new offerings covering Windows Vista, Windows "Eiger" and Virtual PC Express, according to an updated benefits-entitlement chart viewed by Microsoft Watch.

Other additions to the program will include additional 24X7 problem resolution support and extended hotfix support.

Software Assurance, rolled out in late 2002, is one of Microsofts many volume-software licensing programs.

The program was Microsofts first major foray into annuity-based licensing.

Under the plan, customers are charged a percentage (roughly 30 percent per year over three years) of the total cost of their desktop and/or server wares. In exchange, they "buy" guaranteed maintenance on their software and are supplied with service packs and new releases, as they become available.

Months before Microsofts Software Assurance policies went into effect, customers were grumbling about the terms and conditions that Microsoft was set to impose. A number of customers and market watchers warned the program would result in a number of users paying more for their products.

Since the initial rollout, Microsoft has regularly added new benefits and concessions designed to attract new Software Assurance licensees into the fold.

Microsoft officials declined to discuss the pending Software Assurance announcements, other than to confirm they will explain the new benefits to users on Sept. 15.

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