Microsoft should reduce the costs of software licensing, simplify the licensing process and lead the whole industry into a "conflict-free licensing zone", according to the Corporate IT Forum, whose members include senior IT managers in 150 FTSE firms and the public sector.
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Chief executive David Roberts made the call ahead of Microsoft's announcement next Thursday of a revamp of its flagship enterprise software licensing scheme Software Assurance. "The last time Microsoft changed its licensing, it alienated many users," he said.
The Corporate IT Forum established a special interest group for licensing issues in 2001 in the aftermath of Microsoft's introduction of Software Assurance and has repeatedly reminded the company of users' frustrations with the scheme.
"On Thursday, Microsoft must ensure it gets customers on side and prove that it really has been listening," said Roberts, who feared users would be disappointed. "People are expecting a new licensing scheme. It now looks like it will be a fine-tuning exercise."
Microsoft had the opportunity to lead the supplier community on licensing, said Roberts.
"Users tend to view licensing by all leading suppliers as unecessarily complicated. Why can't Microsoft take a leading position by simplifying the challenge and cost for users and lead the whole industry into a conflict-free licensing zone?" he said.