Analysts urge caution with new Microsoft SME licence

Organisations considering Microsoft's new Multi-Year Open (MYO) licensing scheme, introduced this week, must plan carefully or...

Organisations considering Microsoft's new Multi-Year Open (MYO) licensing scheme, introduced this week, must plan carefully or face unexpected costs, analysts have warned.

Sue Page, Microsoft licensing manager, said the MYO package allows users to spread the cost of purchasing software over three years of use. During the repayment period Microsoft will provide Software Assurance, its controversial subscription scheme, which allows users free upgrades to newer versions of the Microsoft software they are using.

MYO includes the initial purchase of the software, unlike some licensing programmes, such as Microsoft's Enterprise Agreement, said Page.

For users the catch is predicting future demand for new licences. Page said organisations that purchase additional licences before the anniversary of their MYO agreement will be charged a full year's fee for the new licences. This can occur if a business expands the number of PCs covered by their MYO agreement.

Bloor Research senior analyst Tony Lock said: "There is a disincentive for businesses to expand. Over time I would hope this condition is revised."

According to Lock, organisations that adopt MYO would need to give careful consideration to how they buy additional software. "It may prove cheaper to buy separate licences and pay at the renewal date rather than extend the licence scheme," he said.

Other analysts have warned that users could struggle to make sense of yet another Microsoft licence programme.

In a recent paper Gartner analyst John Mein said: "MYO creates greater confusion for SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) with more than 250 desktops because Microsoft now offers six different licensing models."

Mein highlighted the number of software licensing models available for enterprises and said they made it difficult to choose which option to purchase. The different licensing "brands" have different agreements and, most confusing of all, different distribution channels, he noted.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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