A rush of last-minute orders from users accompanied the 31 July deadline for buying Microsoft's now-discontinued discount volume licensing packages.
As of 1 August, Microsoft has introduced the Licensing 6 model, which replaces Upgrade Advantage with Software Assurance.
This means customers wanting to upgrade to newer versions of Microsoft software during the lifetime of the agreement will have to pay the full amount instead of a discounted price.
User groups protested that not only would the new licensing regime cost UK businesses an extra £220m a year, but already-confirmed IT budgets did not allow firms to buy Upgrade Advantage before it disappeared.
Microsoft was forced to put the deadline back to July and negotiated a separate agreement with the Office of Government Commerce for public sector licences.
But despite the opposition, many users appear to have bought the Upgrade Advantage option ahead of the deadline.
Blue chip user group Elite estimated that about three-quarters of its members had done so, and Microsoft distributors and resellers reported "manic" activity in the days leading up to 31 July, with some - such as Ingram Micro - claiming a six-fold increase in business.
Microsoft said it would not release figures for how many of the upgrade packages were bought in the run-up to the deadline.
"We are pleased with the levels of activity we have seen not only in the last week but the last couple of months," said Sue Page, licensing manager at Microsoft UK.
But the price has been too high for other corporates. "About 20 per cent just couldn't afford it," Rob Enderle, research director at Giga Information Group, told vnunet.com.
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