Microsoft will end volume discounts for its Windows operating system from March next year.
Applications and operating system products are sold to business customers under Microsoft's Select, Open and Enterprise Agreement (EA) deals. Under these contracts, customers buying products for more than five PCs receive discounts based on the number of products they buy.
However, as of 1 March 2001, Windows Millennium Edition will no longer be available under this volume licensing agreement. Windows 95 and Windows 98 will no longer be available for volume licensing after 30 June 2001. The products will be available only through retail, resellers and pre-loaded on to new PCs.
The move is being interpreted as an attempt to claw more revenue from sales. Microsoft issued a rare profit warning last week, citing slower than anticipated IT and consumer PC demand for its desktop applications.
US analysts also pointed the finger at Window 2000 sales falling short of expectations. Some companies have delayed upgrading to Windows 2000 Professional until they also upgrade their servers to Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server, as users will not derive full benefits without a simultaneous upgrade.
Analysts said the move would make it more expensive for companies running Windows 95 and Windows 98.
Microsoft denied the move is a reaction to the recent results, claiming that it had been planned for some time.
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