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Gartner warns on IBM licence changes

Antony Savvas

Analyst Gartner has warned users to act in response to changes IBM has made to some of its software licensing and maintenance contracts.

IBM has issued customers 90-day notifications of two changes to its Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express programmes.

These include continuous (or automatic) renewals of Fixed Term Licences (FTLs) for select products in IBM's Rational software-development toolset, and for other products under IBM Software Maintenance from 1 June 2005.

Gartner said the continuous renewal option for Software Maintenance is the most significant move, as it changes the way Passport Advantage customers can choose to renew maintenance.

On 1 June IBM will offer customers three choices for maintenance renewal:

  • Between the date they receive the renewal quotation from IBM and the actual maintenance renewal date, they can renew coverage, either directly or through a channel partner (as they did in the past).
  • They can decline renewal coverage before the renewal date.
  • They can allow coverage to automatically renew and pay the invoice accordingly.

IBM claims that continuous renewal will address unintended lapses in maintenance and the higher cost of maintenance reinstatement. But with this change, if the customer does nothing, maintenance automatically renews.

"This turns dropping maintenance - a formerly passive process - into a task that requires effort. As a result, IBM's maintenance renewals and maintenance revenue stream should increase," Gartner said.

It said users should evaluate FTLs for Rational software if they need licences for less than three years.

And with the maintenance changes, Gartner said users wanting to drop support after 1 June should remember to cancel before the maintenance renewal date.


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