Caveat vendor

Many senior corporate users are bracing themselves for an increased outbreak of software licence abuse this autumn.



John Riley

Groundswell

Many senior corporate users are bracing themselves for an increased outbreak of software licence abuse this autumn. That's because suppliers are themselves being badly squeezed with IT spend growth, now proportional to GDP growth rates, drifting down from 10% this year to 9% next year.

It mirrors the UK's general economic "soft landing".

Many suppliers are looking for a return to the golden Y2K-induced harvest of the past two years. But that won't happen again. They will find it hard adapting their psyche to slow long-term growth, especially when the US, with 6% GDP growth, is bringing over 20% spend growth. And enthusiasm for e-business is not yet matched by revenues.

Users fear that suppliers who are not prepared for the long-haul decline could exploit one of the remaining revenue sources they have - screwing users when they have to make minor changes to their software licences, such as with mergers and acquisitions, or with company name changes.

That is shortsighted for two reasons: first, it won't help them retain long-term business. And, secondly, the user community is much better prepared to pillory stiffers. For example, the Parliamentary/industry group Eurim (www.eurim.org ), aided by Computer Weekly, took up this issue earlier in the year and is leveraging its political clout behind the scenes. Caveat vendor.

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