“As if the torrents of Windows-related security flaws were not enough, Microsoft has found another way to leave customers with a foul taste in their mouth and an empty feeling in their pocket,” Ian Altman writes for ZDNet. “The problem this time centers on Microsoft’s Software Assurance program, a for-purchase piece of Windows Licensing 6.0 that the company says offers users ‘automatic access to new technology and provides productivity benefits, support, tools and training to help deploy and use software efficiently.'”
“Microsoft says this will simplify the purchasing process for customers, many of whom are drawn to shorter upgrade cycles. The program also complements Microsoft’s strategy to sell software by subscription–a good theory,” Altman writes. “In reality, it’s a software maintenance and upgrade program that puts even greater pressure on customers to renew existing Windows software. And time is running out: One-third of eligible contracts with Microsoft’s biggest customers will be up for renewal by July 2004.”
Altman writes, “Microsoft’s next-generation operating system–code-named Longhorn–won’t be available until 2006, according to the company’s most recent announcement. That means customers will have to wait at least two years for a dramatically improved version of Windows. That also means customers have two years to dip their toe in the water with alternative platforms, or maybe even take the plunge and replace Windows. That’s bad news for a plan that may deliver little software and even less assurance to customers supporting the Microsoft monopoly… Now customers have the choice to press for lower licensing fees, or abandon Windows altogether.”
Full article here.