Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Microsoft Software Assurance: no bang for big bucks

John Fontana in Network World reports why some users are unhappy with Microsoft's Software Assurance program, whereby users pay maintenance fees to Microsoft in exchange for upgrades. The problem: in some cases, Microsoft has delivered no upgrades.
Scott Matthews, CTO for Digitech Systems. . . . in June 2002. . .spent $30,000 on a software maintenance contract for SQL Server under Microsoft's new annuity licensing program called Software Assurance. .... When Matthews signed the contract, a new version of SQL Server code-named Yukon was slated for release in 2003, but the ship date slipped into early 2004 and then to the end of this year, which is beyond the expiration date of his contract.

"We were specifically planning to upgrade to Yukon, which we had been expecting for ages," Matthews says. "It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. As the CTO, it puts me in a bad position to go into the CFO and tell him we got nothing for this and this and this."
Fontana points out that user dissatisfaction with the Software Assurance plan could soon hit Microsoft where it hurts. Hundreds of thousands of user contracts expire this July, and many of them probably won't renew.

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