Controversy over 'Windows tax'

Over the past few weeks major users in the UK and the US have voiced concern over changes in Microsoft upgrade schemes and volume...

Over the past few weeks major users in the UK and the US have voiced concern over changes in Microsoft upgrade schemes and volume licensing agreements.

The upgrade schemes are being replaced by a three-year subscription based licence deal whereby organisations will be asked to pay an upfront 'assurance' payment, and then buy software at small discount when released, or buy new software when upgrades are needed.

The Infrastructure Form (TIF), which represents some major UK organisations, such as BP and Glaxo, has asked the Trade and Industry Department to investigate what it calls Microsoft's 'Windows tax'. TIF claims its members could be paying, combined, an additional £880m over a typical four-year investment cycle.

Similar concerns have been voiced in the US where senior IT executive Alex McWethey described the changes as 'a ransom demand'.

Microsoft claims only 20 per cent of customers will pay more because of the licensing changes, with 30 per paying less.

In brief

M&M team-up
Materna Communications has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a package which enables wireless access to secure corporate intranet information. The Anny Way Mobile Data Server uses parts of Microsoft Mobile Information 2001 Server (MMIS) to allow access via PDA or mobile phone. It claims users can call up desk top applications, via domain accounts, without having to repeatedly enter their passwords.

Life into legacy
Genicom has launched Intellifilter and Intellipress, new e-printing solutions aimed at breathing life into legacy impact print jobs. Using firmware which resides in the printer, Intellifilter is claimed to enable laser printers to be used for high-volume printing, whilst Intellipress allows for the re-design of forms and printouts, including the addition of logos and images.

Internet forum
A new Internet forum, dedicated to the mainframe world, has been launched with the aim of providing 'free co-operative support'. Created by an ex-freelance mainframe professional, www.mainframeforum.com provides areas for discussion, technical queries and mainframe jobs.

Host bus adapter
QLogic has unveiled its iSCSI host bus adapter (HBA) and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Designed to connect to iSCSI servers and storage, the PCI-iSCSI HBA

completely off-loads host processing with a single chip. It says the result will be the same performance and features, but at an Ethernet price, and without the burden on the host system.

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