Microsoft is changing the licensing structure for its Back Office products, which could lead to hefty price increases for users, claims a forthcoming report from IT consultancy Gartner Group.
Microsoft has dismissed the report as speculation.
According to the report, Microsoft is making a number of subtle changes to its licensing policy, leading to the elimination of concurrent licencing provisions for its Back Office products. Concurrent-use licences allow companies to buy a smaller number of licences than they have users, on the basis that not all users will be using the software at the same time.
Last year, Microsoft removed concurrent licensing provisions from its Office desktop applications suite, and it has already begun similar changes with Back Office products, the report points out, including the removal of concurrent licensing for Exchange Server.
Simon Moores, chairman of the NT User Forum, said this was just the latest example of Microsoft squeezing more profit out of its product set. ?Office was once very cheap, now people buy it because it?s the standard. When Microsoft achieves a dominant position in a market, there is no barrier to it raising prices. This is an issue that does concern me, as it's not good news for customers.?
However, Microsoft has attacked the report, which it claims is purely speculation. ?There have been some changes in the pricing structure of Back Office, however we have no future plans at this stage to take away concurrent licensing. Whenever we do make changes to licensing, they are to do with fairness, simplicity, and flexibility,? claimed Jonathan Downes, UK volume licensing programme manager for Microsoft.
Downes also denies reports that Microsoft is looking to introduce a consistent Internet licensing policy for all of its products. ?We are looking at how the Internet effects how we licence our products, however we have no plans for a consistent policy which would apply to all products.?
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