What You Should Do

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2002-07-31 Email Print this article Print

Under its new "Software Assurance" plan, Microsoft has changed the rules for bulk software upgrades. Now, tech managers are deciding how to respond—including some who are simply refusing to participate.

Coping with Licensing Changes

Before you agree to Microsoft's new upgrade terms:

  1. Upgrade only as needed. If you can stretch the use of your existing software out beyond three years, you may not need Software Assurance.
  2. Negotiate from strength. If you haven't upgraded older Microsoft software but plan to, you'll get your best chance at negotiating credit for the old licenses through an Enterprise Agreement.
  3. Be ready to use alternatives. StarOffice is increasingly a viable desktop applications alternative, able to read Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Look for pockets of users for whom StarOffice makes sense, but beware of migration and training costs.
  4. Scale back. Consider reducing your Microsoft licenses, perhaps by replacing some servers with a network appliance or experimenting with the Linux operating system for kiosks or point-of-sale terminals.

What do you think of Microsoft's new software licensing pricing options? baseline@ziffdavis.com

David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.

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