To take part in Microsoft's volume-licensing programme or to opt out - that is the question.
The Software Assurance programme hasn't gone down well with customers, but any change to the way you pay for something, unless it's a straightforward price cut, rarely goes down well.
Like any licensing programme it has been introduced and explained in a way guaranteed to maximise customer confusion. Think mobile phone tariffs and you have an idea of what you're looking at.
The basic concept is that Microsoft is asking corporate and SME buyers to pay up front for new products, as well as for maintenance and upgrade services. Customers are offered a volume discount for doing this.
Microsoft's line is that those who don't take advantage of this will end up paying more for their software down the line; those that do take advantage will maintain competitiveness through having the latest products.
Customers resent being pushed into this position. They feel that they're going to end up paying more for their software at a time when PC upgrade cycles have slowed down to such an extent that they could have enjoyed not upgrading their software so frequently.
Microsoft obviously benefits from customers signing up to maintenance contracts and locking themselves into product lifecycles.
It argues that Software Assurance will mean that users can install any new release for licensed products that become available during the period of a licence; and can spread the licence payments over three years.
Tony Lock, senior analyst with Bloor Research, believes that the service is certainly worth investigating, but is not necessarily the best choice for every customer.
"This is something new for SMEs to think about," he said. "It's another tool they can employ to buy their software and get volume discounts."
Microsoft has introduced volume discounts for as few as five licences, which might encourage SMEs to invest in the programme. If they're buying a licence at a time they're getting nothing extra.
Benefits from Software Assurance will arise if a company has a very stable employee base. If the workforce is fluid, seasonal, or contractor based, the system might not yield much return.
"If you have a stable population of licences you might be able to get some benefit," explained Lock. "If your licence requirements are likely to go up and down beyond Microsoft's preset limits, it might not work out for you."
Software Assurance coverage is priced at 29 per cent of the licence price per year for eligible application products, including Windows, Visio, Project and Office. The coverage is at 25 per cent for eligible Microsoft server products including Windows 2000 Server, SQL Server and Exchange Server.
The key to knowing how to get the best out of this programme is expert advice from your reseller. They should know your business, the full details of the licensing and how to apply the two together.
Otherwise it means a lot of investigatory legwork on the Microsoft website here, or investigating a move to Linux or Apple OS X.
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