Microsoft launches new licensing benefits

Microsoft has added a range of support and training benefits to its controversial Software Assurance (SA) licensing package in an attempt to ease customers' anger at the way the scheme was introduced. The benefits, which include a home software licence for employees and are available to existing and new SA customers, have been broadly welcomed.

Microsoft's UK licensing manager, Mark Buckley, said SA would help customers get more from their investment in Microsoft technology, giving them increased assistance and support, training and tools. "Employees also benefit as they get better purchasing deals and can use the software covered under the agreement on their home PCs at no charge. "Every customer who has an SA agreement will receive these benefits automatically from 1 September."

David Roberts, chief executive of the Corporate IT Forum, said the new benefits show that Microsoft is listening to customers."To me this is good; it marks the first significant step forward from Microsoft, being responsive and making sure that the things it does are in keeping with customer requirements," he said. But the real test of whether the additional benefits have worked will come in July 2004, when existing old-style Upgrade Advantage (UA) packages run out. Dave Simpson, director of sales and marketing at Microsoft reseller Softcat, said around half of those that have signed an SA licence already have reacted positively to the new benefits.

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News source: Vnunet

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