Businesses should reject unfair licensing terms, according to Forrester analyst Duncan Jones in a report on licensing best practices.
Forrester surveyed 150 clients on 15 controversial software licensing policies. The report states: "Our Q1 2011 Global Unfair Licensing Policies Online Survey revealed a high level of unhappiness among buyers we surveyed."
In particular, 91% complained about maintenance pricing: "Customers cannot get a pro-rata cut in their maintenance by waiving licenses that they no longer need. Instead, the licensor recalculates the ongoing maintenance based on list price less a much lower discount than the customer originally received," said the survey.
Some software suppliers insist organisations buy software licences up-front before implementation, which means customers have to pay for products they wish to evaluate, where the fee is based on live usage rather than usage in the evaluation suite.
Another common practice among software suppliers is to charge full maintenance on products and license capacity that buyers are not using.
Worst licensing policies
The worst five licensing tricks IT managers hate:
- Maintenance repricing
- Insisting all licences are purchased for live use, even when evaluating
- Maintenance charges on shelfware
- Limiting functionality enhancements to new products, instead of being part of maintenance contract
- Retaining right to change licensing policies