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Microsoft revises licensing plan

Customer complaints have forced Microsoft to revise the deadline for a controversial software-licensing plan.

Microsoft said Monday that companies have until July 31, 2002, rather than Feb. 28, 2002, to enter Microsoft's controversial Software Assurance licensing program, which will eliminate some discounts and raise software prices for some of Microsoft's business customers. Microsoft also said customers will no longer be required to upgrade to Office XP to qualify for the Software Assurance plan, which is intended to move Microsoft's customers to a long-term licensing model.

"It is in response to customer feedback," said Microsoft spokesman Dan Leach. "When we went to talk to customers about the issue, they made it clear they needed sufficient time to examine their existing licenses, review the improvements in the (new program) and decide how to take advantage of the new software offering."

But IDC analyst Al Gillen noted that this is the second major change to the new program in recent months.

"This is the second time they've backed down to changes in their licensing program," he said. "In fact, they're backpedaling somewhat on what they were trying to push through back in May."

Last week, Microsoft relaxed another controversial licensing restriction, on a practice known as "reimaging." That practice, common among business customers, involves technicians erasing the copy of Windows installed on new PCs and replacing it with an identical version of the OS that also includes the appropriate hardware drivers and software applications specific for their work environment and corporate network.

News source: ZDnet Australia

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