The software giant changed the way it licensed its software on 1 October, scrapping its various programmes which enabled users to upgrade software at a discount. Taking out a new licence would have cost over twice as much as a Version Upgrade, one of the previous options.
The company has moved the deadline to July next year in the face of fierce criticism from IT user organisations, supported by Computer Weekly, which said that software costs would rise by as much as 94%. They said companies did not have enough time to assess their options.
Microsoft is also changing the Software Assurance offering to allow Office 2000 customers as well as Office XP customers to join, giving them rights to the latest versions of software.
David Rippon, chairman of Elite, expressed surprise at the timing of the announcement - a week after the changes had come into force.
"We have had no official response from Microsoft, since writing to [UK managing director] Neil Holloway - the communications are a shambles," he said.
"We are glad it has delayed the changes but it has not addressed the other issues, namely the increased costs and the way the changes were announced."