As the deadline for Microsoft's new licensing plan looms, evidence from resellers suggests that less than a third of users have signed up.
A survey from Microsoft reseller SunBelt Software showed that 36 per cent of enterprises are concerned about finding the funds to upgrade to Microsoft Licensing 6 which, according to Gartner, could cost businesses 45 per cent more.
But users hoping that Microsoft will extend the deadline will be disappointed. "It isn't going to move," said Sue Page, Microsoft's licensing manager.
However, firms are being offered help in assessing their current software usage. Canadian firm AssetMetrix is offering LicenseTracker, which can be used to audit software running within businesses.
"Firms will be able to negotiate better licensing terms with Microsoft by presenting them with an accurate account of what software is currently running," explained Paul Bodnoff, president of AssetMetrix.
Licensing 6 comes into force on 1 August 2002. Corporate customers which do not get their software licensing in order before the deadline will be forced to pay the full price of new licences when they do upgrade.
LicenseTracker will comes as a hosted service, and is available only before the 31 July deadline at £1.50 per seat. Network administrators then receive a 'smart' email, which is forwarded to users.
An embedded software agent in the email will search 250 areas in a company's PCs and identify the Microsoft operating systems and Office suites in use.
"There has been the temptation for firms to over-buy licences to avoid non-compliance," said Bodnoff, "Using LicenseTracker they will only have to purchase the exact number of licences that they use."
The software is available from UK resellers Precision IT, IT Alchemy and Creative Technology Management Solutions.
The resellers also gain opportunities to supply additional hardware and memory upgrades as firms gain a clearer picture of the applications running on corporate PCs.
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