Microsoft will soon be implementing a number of improvements in its Software Assurance scheme for businesses, to...
enable them to get more value out of the licensing package.
Software Assurance was first offered in 2002 as a way of delivering the latest products to companies as fast as possible at no extra cost, although some firms have said the scheme is too expensive.
To help improve the value of the scheme to companies, Microsoft plans to offer a number of new features from March.
Microsoft said the price of Software Assurance will not change as a result of the changes.
As part of the improvements, Microsoft will now pay for one of its partners to visit Software Assurance subscribers and conduct workshops to train employees on new versions of the software.
The length of the training depends on the Software Assurance package chosen by firms.
In addition, employees working for companies with Software Assurance will now be eligible for discounts on other software for their personal use.
Organisations will also now not have to purchase a second licence for an unused back-up server. Previously, firms had to possess a licence for each server, even if it only existed in case another crashed.
The extended Software Assurance support will cover the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system and the Office 12 collaboration suite, among other new products.