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MS Partners Bailing Over Delays In Releases

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the assurance-of-what-exactly dept.

Microsoft 121

Frosty Piss writes "A new study says past delays in Microsoft's products are causing some businesses to think twice about renewing the long-term service agreements that include rights to upgrade to future versions of its programs. 26 percent of the 61 IT professionals surveyed by Forrester Research said they had decided not to renew their Microsoft Software Assurance agreements when they expire, opting instead to buy the software as needed." Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

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Question (5, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821393)

The big question is whether they were asking IT people in large businesses, midsized, or small ones.

I can see smaller businesses and some mid sized ones not renewing, but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier.

Re:Question (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821607)

I think the bigger question is "why is any /. reader suddenly believing anything from Forrester?" Usually they're spewing out the pro-Microsoft stance that most readers here seem to reject on principle, rather than fact. But now there's a research article that shows a trend away from Microsoft and it's suddenly gospel?

As you seem to be implying, Forrester (and Gartner et al) take their surveys and extrapolate wildly, and not always with thought to the subject. I'd say this is as trustworthy a report as anything else they've produced -- which is saying pretty much nothing at all.

It is ... and it isn't. (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821665)

It's not so much that anyone should believe this "report".

They're in the business of whoring themselves out to whomever has the biggest wallet.

That they're turning on Microsoft says more than their reports ever will. If they don't sell "reports", they don't get paid. So are more people looking to buy "reports" that do NOT favour Microsoft now? Has the market changed that much?

Re:It is ... and it isn't. (5, Funny)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822065)

It could just be that Microsoft hasn't bought any reports for a while, and Forrester want to encourage them a bit.

Perhaps Microsoft is starting to think that these kinds of reports aren't worth it?

Re:It is ... and it isn't. (2, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822969)

You may not be cynical enough.
Does MicroSoft need to have Forrester throw out the occasional counter-argument to head off some anti-trust allegation?
That is the more paranoid question.

Re:It is ... and it isn't. (1)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823231)

It's not because you're paranoid that they are not after you...

Re:Question (4, Interesting)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821687)

Indeed. The sample set is amazingly small and it says nothing in the article about the kind of places that they asked.

Most larger places tend to be insane when it comes to getting large purchases approved. That's why a lot of them do the plans like this - the IT department only has to get it approved once instead of trying to convince the higher ups that they need to spend money every time a new operating system or office suite comes out. As a bonus, they also get support (which goes a long way in convincing the higher ups because it means that someone else can be held accountable if things go wrong).

I also have to say that I must be the first case in the history of Slashdot where a first post has had a positive rating...

Re:Question (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821851)

Forget small. I'm worried about the sample set being DISMEMBERED!

26 percent of the 61 IT professionals surveyed...

26% of 61 is 15.86! They chopped 14% off one of the surveyees! I wonder if that tainted the rest of the sample?

Re:Question (4, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822247)

26% of 61 is 15.86! They chopped 14% off one of the surveyees! I wonder if that tainted the rest of the sample?


I dunno — if your taint comprises 14% of your body, maybe software licensing isn't your largest concern.

Re:Question (0, Redundant)

slugstone (307678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822503)

I have to agree with you on the sample size, but it is more important on how they choose the sample. Yes, I know you said that just being redundant.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821893)

How can you tell in a reply to the first post, whether or not Slashdot readers actually _are_ believing it?
Aren't you making a large assumption there?
Apparently you're a Slashdot reader, as you're even a subscriber, and clearly _you_ don't believe it - so what are you basing your question on? Or was it just pointless Slashdot readership bashing?

Re:Question (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822143)

How can you tell in a reply to the first post, whether or not Slashdot readers actually _are_ believing it?
Aren't you making a large assumption there?
And you are incapable of reading all the comments before posting a reply to the most relevant? How's that philosophy of "Ready! FIRE! Aim!" working out for you? I suppose it's a good thing your foot was in your mouth or else you might have shot yourself in it.

I must be tired. I'm replying to anonymous trolls.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821941)

maybe because what they are saying makes sense? vista == long delay you stupid fuck head.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19822045)

I think the bigger question is why you're not believing something from Forrester but you don't care that the article was sent by someone named 'Frosty Piss'

Re:Question (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822473)

Because slashdot readers in general will believe anything that's anti-MS, no matter how tenuous, while rejecting out of hand anything that's pro-MS, no matter how solidly backed up.

The big question, though, is why would anyone (other than MS) care how many or few businesses are renewing? What does it matter?

Re:Question (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822761)

It is just logical really. If someone is a consistent Microsoft Shill, and even they start to see some problems, then this is valuable data, that can not be so easily dismissed as if it was another pro-Microsoft article. Why is this confusing for so many people.

It is like you mate who likes all action movies, no matter how flimsy the plot. If even he doesn't like the latest Die Hard movie, that means it must really blow, not that it is not a good movie. Take things in context.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19824755)

Because slashdot readers in general will believe anything that's anti-MS, no matter how tenuous, while rejecting out of hand anything that's pro-MS, no matter how solidly backed up.

Actually, that's only true for the non-Xbox360 related bits of Microsoft. I'll believe anything pro-Xbox360 no matter how tenuously backed up.

Sincerely,

The Slashdot Overmind

Tags: iphone, linux, wii, sovietrussia, frickinlasers, slownewsday

Re:Question (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822923)

I think the bigger question is "why is any /. reader suddenly believing anything from Forrester?" Usually they're spewing out the pro-Microsoft stance...

That's why. It's like Stallman saying something negative about OSS. If even the most die-hard advertiser of something starts criticizing it...

Re:Question (3, Interesting)

wawannem (591061) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821681)

Based on my experience with their agreements, I would imagine that they are cost-prohibitive to most small businesses. Their volume licensing agreements like Open Licensing (http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/programs/open/ default.mspx) are really meant to give customers some peace-of-mind when managing a large deployment. This program is meant for organizations with less than 250 workstations, but I can't see anyone seeking this sort of agreement unless they have over 100.

What I would like to know, is how reliable this can be when only surveying 61 people. I mean, I know that statistics can be wrangled just about any way you want, but it doesn't seem to me to be very useful to ask such a small number. Before getting my hopes up that M$'s poor performance is finally being noticed by businesses, I will wait to see how their sales numbers look the next few quarters.

-W

Re:Question (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821741)

I agree with the cost with regard to smaller places. That's a lot of the reason I asked the question.

As for it being a good deal for larger installations, Microsoft hated my alma mater for the deal we had with them. For the longest time, we pretty much had them over a barrel. Any student (all 20,000+ of them) or staff could borrow a copy of practically anything they made to install on their computer. If they wanted a copy of the media to keep, it cost like $10-20 depending on what they requested. That included Windows, Office, and Visual Studio.

The deal we had when that agreement ended was still good - they took away the free borrowing, but let us keep the "get a copy and a license for $20" part.

The non profit that I worked for there had 150-200 workstations, and I can say that the support was occasionally a really nice thing. However, the most we used it was when we were migrating a group of servers to server2000 and upgrading Exchange.

I can say that was a long weekend and I now have nightmares about trying to get Exchange running properly. I can also say that their premium service is amazing and the people who provide it really know their stuff (though I hear their "regular" service isn't that great).

Re:Question (2, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823365)

***What I would like to know, is how reliable this can be when only surveying 61 people***

It can be pretty good. IF the 61 people are truly representative of the larger population. If they had a list of every "IT professional" in the world with Microsoft Software Assurance contracts; picked 61 names at random; and made sure that they talked to each and every one of the 61, they'd probably get a pretty good number. But that's likely not what they did.

I'm not an expert, but I believe that it's pretty well established both in theory and practice, that using large samples is not a very effective way to improve accuracy. What you want to do is eliminate bias. But that is more easily said than done.

Let's define HOW it is "easier". (0)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821721)

If the BSA investigates you, you will have to cough up a LOT of "proof" that your licenses are legal. Even if they all are (and Microsoft makes it very easy to be out of compliance).

Just having the original software isn't enough. That can be faked.

Having the original software AND a receipt is not enough. You could have bought pirated disks and not known it.

You MUST have the receipt from an APPROVED Microsoft reseller. Now, how do YOU know which resellers are approved?

What happens if you don't have the receipts? What if there was a fire or something that destroyed them?

How many people do you have to employ to check that each machine has the software that was purchased for it, and the receipt AND that the license associated with it applies in that case?

Fuck it. Just spend the money and Microsoft will handle the problems for you. The problems that MICROSOFT created by MICROSOFT's demands regarding "proof" of legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Microsoft provides NO OTHER OPTIONS for registering your software with them. NONE. Go ahead. Try to register a copy of Windows with them. You have to "activate" it and run "Windows Genuine Advantage" and so forth ... but try to get them to give you the info AFTER your lost the original info.

They won't.

Re:Let's define HOW it is "easier". (4, Informative)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821967)

I'm not sure, is this a troll? If so, well done sir!

If not you clearly don't know how Microsoft licensing works. You don't keep or maintain proof you own anything. It's all registered through Elicensing on Microsoft's own site. If you buy from vendor A they put in the paperwork with Microsoft and send you a copy so that you can authenticate through the licensing site. From there you can download any licensed product and you have a full inventory of all licensing you have purchased all in one place, serialized, and even commented.

Also, if you're a VL purchaser then you aren't activating Windows anyway as VL Windows XP at least doesn't require activation. With Vista there are a whole myriad of other options available even if they are more of a pain than with XP but don't kid yourself, there are a lot of options.

As for compliance checking, that is easily accomplished with an on-sight database. Hell, make it a Debian box running mysql. A simple login script can query all the installed applications and write all the information into a central inventory. Alternatively you can use Microsoft products for compliance monitoring such as Operations Manager and Systems Management Server if you have the money for such products.

Naturally there are plenty of open source compliance systems out there as well that make it perfectly easy to make sure you're not only in compliance with Microsoft but also Adobe and any other big software maker out there.

I would be curious about the number of businesses the BSA has investigated that have an existing VL agreement with Microsoft. I don't think it's ever happened although I recognize that it could happen so I guess it doesn't make any difference.

At any rate, genuine media is only a problem with Microsoft's retail products. OEM and VL products have different keys are difficult and/or pointless to fake in the case of a VL product since you can download the media yourself from the Eopen site.

Re:Let's define HOW it is "easier". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19823653)

Is this intended to be ironic?

Re:Question (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821789)

I can see smaller businesses and some mid sized ones not renewing, but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier.

I would think just the opposite: since larger businesses buy more software, they would have more to gain by cutting back. Also, large businesses are more likely to afford to dedicate someone to the task.

Re:Question (3, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821809)

Ever try to get approval for large purchases in a big business? It's a pain.

If your choices are having to pitch it to the higher ups every time you need to upgrade operating systems/office suites and pitching one time to the higher ups this program where, for a fee, they never have to worry about hearing this conversation again, they get extra support when it's needed, and if anything goes wrong they have someone else to blame, I guarantee you that the better choice is generally going to be option 2.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821793)

Don't be so sure about the larger businesses not renewing. I work for a Very Large Company (tm) - one of the worlds largest, most renowned manufacturers of widgets of all shapes and sizes.

During a recent all-IT-employee meeting, it was announced to look towards an Open-source desktop deployment within the next twenty four months.

This immediately led me to believe that The Company had not, or rather would not renew it's Software Assurance Agreement and make the deluge towards Windows Vista - not that anyone really needs it, anyway. Little utility, plus a bigger price tag. They'd be doing it as Vista for Vista's sake.

So, yes, very exciting for all of us, if they can actually see it through to the conclusion.

Re:Question (1)

hemp (36945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822023)

At large corporations, the software costs are minor when compared to the device support charges from outsource vendors such as EDS, ACS, etc. When you are paying $70-$140 a month to your vendor for support, $300 a year doesn't sound very bad.

Re:Question (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822365)

but most of the larger ones will probably continue to do so because it's easier.

For some another issue is surviving a BSA audit. No contract, disgruntled employees or ex-employees or union organizers,.. anybody.. With a plan, you get blanket coverage and the threat of a BSA audit seems to go away. You may be in complyance, but the potential shutdown and finding records for each package of software installed with recipts is expensive even if you are legal.

A smaller shop with just a few machines can survive an audit if the records are in order.

An audit for a corporation would be extremely disruptive to daily operations.

Re:Question (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822943)

I wonder, would the BSA be liable for the damages done by such an audit if you can prove you're legit? Or do they have the license to damage your business at will?

Re:Question (3, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823747)

Or do they have the license to damage your business at will?

It's in the EULA.

Forcing their hand does have it's drawbacks.. such as no MS software permitted anywhere..

http://www.penguinista.org/cgi-bin/article?article Id=723 [penguinista.org]
http://www.qcs-rf.com/wordpress/?m=200703 [qcs-rf.com]
http://bsadefense.com/resources/article_independen t-co-uk.asp [bsadefense.com]

The bad publicity is supposed to shake up pirates to get legit.
The bad karma shakes up legal users into looking at alternatives.

This one swore off MS products entirely due to a BSA audit.
http://news.com.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html [com.com]

Re:Question (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19824057)

And now for countries (like mine) in which the EULA is pointless (a supreme court verdict calls it void, since you have no chance to agree to it before purchase and some parts of it violate our consumer rights or copyrights. Yes, our copyrights still contain stuff that benefits the licensee).

Re:Question (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822417)

I don't think many companies renewed their deals because they didn't get anything for it. Vista took so long that many of the original Software Assurance licensees got NOTHING the entire time but the regular updates that were free. Now days everybody buys Dells or HPs with the OS installed. Regular rotation of PCs pulls the new OS in fast enough for most businesses. It's not like MS goes thru OS versions every 2 years anymore. Even currently the server licenses are so dramatic in price and hardware that there's no point in buying upgrades anymore, you're better off buying the OS with the hardware and keeping them together. Microsoft's agreements are also VERY one-sided. While the price is better, they make some pretty terrible demands that no serious business person would accept for a normal commodity. Why it's accepted in IT is unbelievable.

Re:Question (1)

Bashar Abdullah (994163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822525)

Either way, it shows how lacking Microsoft is in delivering it's promise, and companies are starting to take action from it.

No one's complaining? (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821439)

Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

In fact, the businesses that signed up for lifelong contracts don't even call to complain anymore. And looking deeper, MS notices they're not calling at all!

I think it's kinda like how I keep my old subscription to that one lame magazine because it's impossible to cancel.

Re:No one's complaining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821885)

Actually, we DO call. I tried calling just this week for my company in fact only to have the confounded MS phone system hang up on me (I'm not making this up) six times.

It was GREAT!!

The only thing better was when I finally did get through only to have their Indian tech support staff repeating *exactly* what I'd said every time I'd said it and constantly thanking me for "patiently holding" quite literally over a dozen times. :-|

I know this is an offtopic rant, but it just exemplifies in yet another way just how bad MS has gotten IMHO.

The other 74% (0, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821457)

is looking at Linux? I sure hope so, but I doubt that 74% of their customers can be that smart.

Re:The other 74% (1)

ZachMG (1122511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821507)

And people don't like playing text games as much. Linux: The World's Best Text-Adventure Game

Re:The other 74% (1)

andy_t_roo (912592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821663)

have you tried Ubuntu: The Worlds Best point-and-click adventure game?

Re:The other 74% (1)

ZachMG (1122511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821703)

Why yes I have and at the moment I am using Mac OS X(yes on my Dell laptop): the worlds best operating system

Re:The other 74% (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821849)

Except it's illegal to use it on a Dell. The EULA restricts it to "Apple branded hardware".

Still you could literally brand your Dell laptop with an Apple logo, cowboy style.

Re:The other 74% (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823137)

Does that make you semi-elitist, then?

Re:The other 74% (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821539)

Nope. The other 74 percent are renewing their MS agreements.

Don't ever pay in advance (5, Insightful)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821471)

Software Assurance was always a bad idea. It is clear that if you hand over the money before the work is done then they are far less likely to do the work as quickly as they would if you didn't pay until the work was finished. This is true in the real world (builders or decorators) so why shouldn't it be true with MS? They already have your money and so they don't really need to work hard. Companies should definitely tell them to stick it and buy as and when they feel the need to upgrade. Clearly very little of the software MS has produced since introducing SA6 has been of any value and I suspect the uptake would be much lower if people hadn't already paid up front. Don't be fooled twice is what I say, keep the money in your bank earning interest, not theirs.

Don't ever pay in advance-Fixing OSS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821611)

"Software Assurance was always a bad idea. It is clear that if you hand over the money before the work is done then they are far less likely to do the work as quickly as they would if you didn't pay until the work was finished."

Well there goes the "give away the code, sell the services" idea.

Re:Don't ever pay in advance-Fixing OSS. (2, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822483)

no, it's exactly the same. Only Microsoft had little motivation to produce the upgrades because you were locked into a long term contract and they weren't required by the contract to produce ANYTHING. Also, SA only included a little support. Good luck calling to request a bug fix just for you. They'll take your $100,000+ but still treat you like a chump.
OSS vendors include support with maintenance for the full term. Often you get access to actual programmers and not sales people. I've worked with vendors that have put out a product patch just for the bug we found on a support call.. it's pretty cool! Even with mighty IBM, I've gotten actual programmers involved in bug issues because I had all my patches applied and troubleshooting steps followed. In that respect Microsoft isn't a "good" supplier unless you spend millions with them. When you deal with good companies, you see how poor Microsoft really is at their core business of making software. They're a "one trick pony" that merely has a lot of money in the bank.

Re:Don't ever pay in advance (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821699)

This is true in the real world (builders or decorators) so why shouldn't it be true with MS?

Microsoft policies have not historically been in sync with "the real world" so why should this be any different?

Re:Don't ever pay in advance (2, Informative)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822031)

It sounds like you've never been involved with the purchase of software assurance. Few companies pay it all up front and actually minimize the cash layout by spreading the payments out over three years. So 180k in MS software will result in 36k the first year, 50k the second year, and the remainder in the third year. Of course it all depends on how your company arranges the terms ahead of time.

With that said you have a point about software assurance being a bad idea but the ability to upgrade and down grade on the fly as well as lifting the hardware restrictions does make things more interesting. Of course you plan on assurance depending on the cost. Normally assurance saves a company money if they are planning on upgrading within three years. If you don't upgrade sooner then it's pointless and you might as well just pay the upgrade pricing when its time. Of course if you're licensing Windows this allows you transfer OEM licensing and role them into VL so you buy new machines you can use your Windows licenses on the next batch of computers. Lots and lots of options, definitely more complicated than it needs to be in my opinion.

Re:Don't ever pay in advance (3, Informative)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822133)

Unfortunately Microsoft is beginning to move a lot of licensing functionality into SA to make it almost a requirement. For instance, look up the licensing for Office 2007 in conjunction with a Terminal Server, or the use of Office 2003 licensing for Office 2007 on Terminal Server. And charity licensing now gives you home use rights for your licenses, if you purchase SA.

Software Assurance is bullshit, frankly. It just a way for Microsoft to squeeze extra money out of its customers with the promise of a "free" upgrade to the next version, IF the next version is released within the SA period. Think about all the poor schmucks who bought a three year SA with Office 2003 upon release (or was only two years available then?)

All the while, by the way, Microsoft is sticking it to OEMs with stupid requirements. For instance, system builders who sell Office 2007 are not allowed to distribute 2007 media: they are required to provide some sort of recovery system to the user. And OEM licensing is no longer adequate for most usage purposes (like the TS example above.)

And now that people aren't buying Vista and Office 2007 in the numbers Microsoft wanted, we will soon be required to buy nothing but! Once stock of Office 2003 runs out in the channels I will no longer be able to offer this to my customers who do not like Office 2007, as MS has discontinued Office 2003 in the OEM channels. Windows XP will be gone sometime around January, 2008.

How many people would have been pissed if Windows 2000 and Office XP suffered the same fate? So is this Microsoft's way of not committing the same mistake before of supporting older generation software, or is this just a way of cramming shit down our throats? IMHO, so long as a product is still in mainstream support, I should be able to obtain said product. IIRC, Windows XP Pro SP2 is EOL in 2010.

And what about Office 2003 SP3 which has been announced and is supposedly in testing? This will contain back-ported features from Office 2007. Will it bring "ribbons" which 90% of my surveyed users hate (ah! statistics!) and make it so there is no option for "classic" menu styles?

I will not be moving to Vista any time soon. I've used the betas and release candidates, and I am not impressed. There are some neat things under the hood, but the gains balance the loses in my experience. And I just principally abhor kuldgy, klunky DRM and other restrictions. I received Vista Business in my Action Pack, and it has gone and will continue to go unused.

I was excited about Windows XP because it represented a MASSIVE shift in technology, usability, and stability over Windows 2000. (And many people will debate this, but I refuse to argue against my experience.) I was excited about Server 2003 for a lot of the same reasons. It really seemed like Microsoft was listening to us. I went to the training and free seminars and demonstrations. But now it seems as though Microsoft took a little exception to being told by its customers what they want, and now instead tell the customers what they can have, period.

And this is a take-it, no leave-it, situation. Many of us rely upon software which requires Windows to run, and at the same time have no IT budget to investigate alternative methods. In the end, we will still need Windows somewhere.

I grow weary of Microsoft's crap. Every time I turn around I feel like I am its whore for pushing its product. To be fair, Windows XP and Server 2003 have been great products for me to support. But licensing and upgrades by attrition is just too much anymore.

I am working to move out of this part of the industry soon. I would rather do server and network administration, and disaster recovery and risk assessment, anyway. This is far less complicated and easier to stomach than Microsoft software licensing and force-fed controls.

Keep on trucking, Microsoft. Like Rome, you shall fall; you will learn the lesson of IBM. You can only screw your customers for so long before they revolt. Of course you take one down and another one rises to take its place. *sigh*

I just hope in my heart that one day we can return to truly innovating this industry. It seems that all we do now is fix broken stuff and not make any forward movement. I really do not mind that we continue to see novelty technology because I feel that eventually novelties will turn into something useful. But this "eventually" part is killing me. I am stagnating, and my brain hurts for it. No, really, I have a headache now...

Re:Don't ever pay in advance (1)

igb (28052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822461)

look up the licensing for Office 2007 in conjunction with a Terminal Server
Could you expand on that? Does this mean that one-off purchases of Office 2007 can't be used on Terminal Server?

ian

Re:Don't ever pay in advance (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19825043)

Could you expand on that? Does this mean that one-off purchases of Office 2007 can't be used on Terminal Server?
ian

Terminal services can operate in 2 modes. It admin mode it acts like remote desktop. You can get to any application this way without special licensing. It presents you with an entire remote desktop.

In Application mode it's configured to send a single window to the remote user. It basicly allows them to see a window as if it were running no thier local computer, but is actually installed and running on a server. Other than a bit of lag the user won't ever be aware that the application isn't running locally. This usually allows large companies to buy fewer licenses (but more expensive ones), and simplifies the install. The local computer also needs fewer resources. I think it's this mode that the grandparent was speaking of that office 2007 won't run in without special terminal server licensing.

Re:Don't ever pay in advance (1)

Hausenwulf (956554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19824751)

Does it benefit the customer? No. Odds are the customer is not going to get a new release in the timeframe of the agreement. Does it benefit Microsoft? Yes. The customer is paying Microsoft for something Microsoft is not obligated to deliver... ever. Previously, Microsoft had to bring out a new product to make money and the quicker the better. With software assurance, they can take their sweet time about it with customers still paying them money. Kudos to Microsoft for finding another way of making money by doing nothing.

Maybe they don't want your upgrade. (2, Interesting)

cyanyde (976442) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821481)

Perhaps they simply feel that the software assurance makes no sense when the actual software releases are steps behind the OS releases. The only thing keeping them instep is microsoft's cutting ties of backwards compatibility. Bravos IT managers.

what microsoft hears? (4, Funny)

Zashi (992673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821485)

I don't think microsoft will ever admit what it hears from it's customers.

They certainly won't admit to what they've heard from me.

Re:what microsoft hears? (1)

MrCreosote (34188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821859)

Or maybe its because people are just telling them what they want to hear [rcpmag.com]

Re:what microsoft hears? (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821999)

Regardless of the legitimacy of the study, MS most certainly is not hearing anything bad from their customers.

There are some conversations that are just not worth having, and telling a saleperson that you don't plan on renewing your contract because you haven't received the expected value from it is definately one of them. Depending on how big of a client you are, telling MS that they just aren't worth it could mean hundreds or even thousands of hours of them calling to explain again why the only way you will have your computing needs met is through them.

I actually sell More software assurance (4, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821511)

Because in the long run over other supported contracts its more affordable. Its not just a license but a pretty robust support infrastructure that is included in your pricing and scales well for businesses large and small and more times than not is cheaper than retail pricing.

Just my experience. Software Assurance is more like the commercial linus world where the value is the service & support rather than the actual software - as it is to more businesses than not.

Cost of the software itself is very little of the ultimate price at the end of the day. (not claiming its absolute, but very true more than not)

Re:I actually sell More software assurance (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821551)

hate replying to myself but i meant linux (not linus) and well darnit, i should just go to bed. I'm tired :)

Re:I actually sell More software assurance (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821689)

I'm sticking with Q-DOS. I'm waiting to see if this "hard disk" feature of IBM is going to pan out.

MS confirmed the report (4, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821515)

If you read the article, in the last paragraph it quotes the MS representative thus: "Microsoft's Sloane countered Forrester's findings by pointing out that about 75 percent of the company's Enterprise Agreement customers are renewing those pacts." Well, if only 75% are renewing, doesn't that mean 25% aren't??

And the forrester report said 26%. I bet that's inside the margin for error of the survey.

Re:MS confirmed the report (3, Insightful)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821589)

The agreements provide value when taking into account two factors:


1. Microsoft release new software in the timeframe of the agreement.
2. Microsoft release upgrades that are worthwhile purchasing in that same time frame.

Since many companies don't really need upgrades (MS tend to roll out new ideas into new products, while giving lack lustre upgrades to existing products.) The only thing really pushing along MS upgrades is the fear falling so far behind in windows versions that MS stop releasing patches for them. (How many companies do you know that still believe windows 2000 was their peak?)

With numerous delays in Vista and the final product not having too much benefit over it's predecessor, it comes as no surprise that companies can't justify paying for another go on the merry-go-round.

Also just a curiousity... (1)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821613)

Just a side curiosity about the article..
"Note: Figures do not add up to 100% because of rounding."
How is "rounding" an excuse for why the pie graph doesn't add to 100%? (It adds up to 99%)

Re:Also just a curiousity... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821737)

31.2 + 26.2 + 18.2 + 13.2 + 11.2 = 100

Round to the nearest whole number:
31 + 26 + 18 + 13 + 11 = 99

Re:Also just a curiousity... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821779)

Ok, apparently cranking out the real numbers wasn't that time consuming.

19 undecided. 19/61 = 31.148
16 will not renew. 16/61 = 26.230
11 will selectively renew. 11/61 = 18.033
8 will probably renew. 8/61 = 13.115
7 will definatly renew. 7/61 = 11.475

All those percentages round down, yet (to 3 sig figs) add up to 1.001

Re:Also just a curiousity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821931)

Thanks, you'd think I'd run across this more often. All those .2s

Re:Also just a curiousity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821959)

You've got 5 sig figs up there. Not that it matters. Measured integral values come with an arbitrary number of sig figs.

Re:Also just a curiousity... (0, Flamebait)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823121)

Thank you for exposing your stupidity, and the lackluster mathematical courses in high school/ primary school/ pre-school these days. Adding numbers is hard, isn't it!

Re:MS confirmed the report (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821591)

For a value add service a 75% return rate is pretty darn good. Its not like they stopped selling it and aren't gaining new market share either.

Software assurance includes more than just future proofing license/versions, it has support, infrastructure, recovery, home use, licensing, discounts and many other options/features.

with more choices of software assurance out there (much akin to Linux Support offerings) i think competition is heating up and everyone is getting a better value today than they did when the program first launched.

so all is not lost.

Re:MS confirmed the report (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821647)

I'm not trying to say anything about the value of software assurance, I haven't looked at it, I have no clue if its a good deal, what it costs, anything.

I just thought it was funny that in MS's rebuttal of the survey, they completely confirmed it.

In the article MS says "this isn't what we are hearing from our customers, we don't think 26% are leaving us, this report isn't representative of our customers", then 4 paragraphs later they say "25% are leaving." I just thought it was hilarious that they so fully contradicted themselves.

Re:MS confirmed the report (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821601)

Well, if only 75% are renewing, doesn't that mean 25% aren't??

And the forrester report said 26%. I bet that's inside the margin for error of the survey.


The truth is, whoever paid for the long-term service already was screwed and there's no way back. Now Microsoft will capitalize on the technology it produced for Vista (some released with Vista, some with Server 2008, and some will remain in beta for some time yet) and churn out updates faster.

My point being, those 75% aren't necessarily happy with the deal, but have considered continuing contract in respect to the situation right now onward.

Every company that tries such periodic contracts have failed in one way or another. And I'm talking big companies here, such as Macromedia (now part of Adobe).

Big complex products like CS3 and Windows, Office, will at some point no longer be possible to produce on schedule, so periodic payments will have to form in some shape or another, but this is definitely not the form.

If Microsoft says something isn't true, bet it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821533)



If Microsoft says something isn't true, bet it is - true, that is.

Pathetic? No! It's the way to know the truth!

I have a novel idea (1)

xubu_caapn (1086401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821541)

They should've admitted to the problem, and had a press release stating they'd commit to quickening their release schedule. But I guess that'd be too straightforward.

It is so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821543)

F MS && malloc FS

buwahahahahahaha! (4, Insightful)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821545)

Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

Microsoft owes me a new keyboard :(
Between that and "The next version of Office will be worth the wait!" or "Longhorn will be out in Q4 2005, we promise!", I sprayed coke all over my monitor and keyboard...

Software assurance lately hasn't really been worth a damn to businesses. There are more than a few legacy apps that don't work in Vista and few businesses are switching. I know of at least one Microsoft Vista call center that is staying on XP for call logging and business stuff (they give a second pc to techs to play with / walk customers through stuff)

Office 2007 might look different with its magical little orb, but you'd have a real hard time justifying the purchase if you had to pay for an upgrade in a medium sized office at $250+ a seat. Getting it for "free" makes it slightly more attractive, but the downside of retraining employees is still scary for a bunch of businesses - especially when the 2007 file format pack is a pretty small install.

I'm still waiting for vista (2, Informative)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821569)

I'm not MS fan (I have linux running on everything where I have a choice), but because of customers that use various MS products, it seemed cheaper when starting my business to subscribe to their Action Pack Subscription (MAPS). They give you more than enough licenses for all the major products (office, server, workstation, visio, maps, etc) which is perfect for reading those files that customers send without forking over the big bucks up front. You have to pay over $300 yearly, which if they were releasing often, it would make sense.

But I'm about to approach the point where purchasing everything outright makes more sense, and they still haven't sent me anything more than a beta for Vista. So if my customers want me to support them, either I'm using a beta to do so, or I have to fork out the cash even though I'm subscribing to MAPS. This may be the last year I renew my subscription unless they have a lot of new software entering the pipe. The worst part is should I cancel, I'm guessing the MS police will be knocking to verify that I don't have anything unlicensed still in use, which I wouldn't, but my time does equal money.

Re:I'm still waiting for vista (1)

blindseer (891256) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822041)

If the Microsoft police come knocking on your door just tell them to fuck off. They are not a police force no matter what their fancy t-shirts and jackets have printed on them.

OK, so maybe it's not that simple. I doubt that they can take you to any criminal court. They'd have to take you to civil court to make you cough up anything. Would they bother? Perhaps, just to make an example. Even then I would think that "innocent until proven guilty" should apply.

I am not a lawyer. I'm just ranting because your comment hit a nerve. People have become fearful of corporations and that is just not right. These are the same corporations that depend on us buying their products to stay in business and yet their customers (and potential customers) have become their enemies. In Theory (which, BTW, sounds like a great place to live if I could only find it on the map) corporations should be bowing before me since I have the money they need to stay in business. I don't live in Theory, and I doubt anyone else reading does either, and so we all fear the big corps.

Re:I'm still waiting for vista (1)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823635)

You're right that I have the right to ignore their request. But I'd rather spend 15 minutes saying "look, there's nothing here" than hire a lawyer, spend a day in court, risk having them demand copies of all my harddrives and a legal search of my property. Sadly, there are many cases in the world where it's easier to let someone violate our rights than it is to do what's right.

To give another example, my father is also a small business owner and was forced to have 2 or 3 days down while the local government audited his business. They were trying to determine if he needed to be at the next level of income that required an extra $20 on his license (and there was no higher level). He offered to just pay them $20 for the license so he could work but they refused. In the end, the city owed him something like $2.50. Consider whether the city was right for standing up for their rights and demanding the audit.

You're really "nice"... (4, Funny)

Dr_Art (937436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821575)

Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it's hearing from its customers.

Microsoft: You're not going to bail on me are you? You love me don't you?
Customer: No, I wouldn't do that. You're really "nice".
Microsoft: You mean it? I mean, you're not still upset with me about the chair throwing thing, right?
Customer: Of course not. I mean, I'm still using you on some of my desktops...
Microsoft: So why are you still using XP? You hate me, right?
Customer: Er, uh, well, uh, we were planning on upgrading but we've been a little busy with our Linux migration in the data center and all, and, uh, well would you look at the time! I've got to get going. I'll see you soon...
Microsoft: See, he really does love me! That darned study is just not representative of him!

Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of MS-in-de-nial...

What now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19821577)

Paying in advance for x years of software upgrades seems kinda stupid:
* how do you know exactly what you will get? Sure, there will be an upgrade but features aren't set in stone and often removed
* how do you know you will actually need the upgrades?
* so MSFT already has your money, which means that even if they postpone relases, remove features and don't deliver the product expected, there's nothing you can do about Vista - ops - it. Well, you could always whine about it, that's free

Calling it "the beginning of the end" is premature (3, Insightful)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821609)

When Windows 95 came out, lots of companies and individual users were leery of switching over from their working-just-fine Windows 3.11 systems. I remembered seeing a demo of Windows 95, and someone was asking whether they could disable the animated graphic display that played during the file copy process.

Microsoft has a long history of, well, "stubbornness" isn't too harsh a term. NT 3.1, Bob, and ME were all products that didn't make the grade as far as most people were concerned. However, they kept marketing them while they worked on replacement technology and/or service packs. Thus, we got NT 3.5, Windows 98 SE, and Windows XP, which all simply ran into the "new product" glitches and bitches.

I honestly think that Microsoft will just keep on marketing Vista until they get at least one service pack, and possibly two. At that point, they'll either have shaken out most of the bugs that people are complaining about, or will come up with a different package, a different name, a different UI, and call it a "brand new" product.

Is Microsoft hurting? Perhaps, but I don't believe they've been sending out large numbers of pink slips to their employees. Are people looking at alternatives? Yes, but many of them are either going to sit tight and hope that XP will last long enough until either Vista SP 2, because they have too much of an investment in existing technology to feel comfortable (rightly or wrongly) with anything else.

Re:Calling it "the beginning of the end" is premat (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821971)

"Is Microsoft hurting? Perhaps, but I don't believe they've been sending out large numbers of pink slips to their employees."

No but they are having a hard time finding new employees [slashdot.org]

Microsoft can't do math (0)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821621)

Forrester: ~25% of your partners won't renew their contracts!

Microsoft: Blatant lies! ~75% of our partners will renew it!

Definition (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821767)

A definition of "Software Assurance": Mirco$oft's assured we'll keep using their crap until we get a brain.

Related Links (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821803)

Someone want to explain what the hell link # 4 has to do with this article?

        * Compare prices on IT Products
        * HP Sponsored Solutions
        * Compare prices on Microsoft Products
        * Frosty Piss
        * causing some businesses to think twice
        * More Microsoft stories
        * More IT stories

Re: Related Links (1)

Dansteeleuk (967617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19825139)

(S)He was the Story Submitter.

i don't know (3, Interesting)

mistahkurtz (1047838) | more than 7 years ago | (#19821847)

if i buy it.

i work in corporate IT sales, and it simply seems that this survey was done almost immediately after a major desktop OS and office suite release. it seems to me that many companies, especially in the SMB market would be more inclined to not renew SA now, and purchase it in the future before the next major releases. this seems to be consistent with what i've seen with my customers, some of who have opted to not renew SA on desktop OS and office, however renewed SA on server 2003, with the release of server 2008 on the horizon.

anyway, plenty of companies are still renewing their EA and Select and MOV agreements, whether they truly need all the features or not. remember, you get a lot more than free upgrades w/ SA.

my $.02

Re:i don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19822077)

I suspect that there are two ways to view this. One is by market share. If you look at the problem from a market share viewpoint, then each customer has a weight relative to the number of contracts they manage. Think of this as stock. If 99% of shareholders sell their shares, but the sum total of those shares is 1% of the company, then who really cares? It's the 1% that matters. Cold calling it professionals with a survey asking if they are going to maintain their contracts is akin to calling random shareholders of a given stock. Each shareholder has a different weight and investment and considers the problem differently. As mistahkurtz has pointed out, it makes sense for some customers to effectively buy their liscences in bulk through this process, and then let them expire because they can provide in-house troubleshooting for the 1 - 100 machines they have liscenced. For a larger investor, this would not make sense. For them, you are asking "do you intend to increase the size and scope of your IT department by 1000000%?" of course they would answer "probably not". So, to simplify, the answer to this question is somewhat weighted by the size of the company, which is coincidentally determinant of the amount of revenue this relationship generates for Microsoft. Adding the fact that Microsoft stated 75% staying as if it was different from 25% leaving -- I am assuming that Microsoft is looking at lost revenue as 25% for this program.

This is, in effect, a bad question to ask without weighing by the amount spent on this program per year. This weight accounts specifically for the invested amount and determines the overall market effect. Clearly, as these figures stand, they could have called 100 people, 75 major companies, and 25 mom/pop stores and gotten the same answer. Why the mom/pop stores might have such a contract is beyond me, but is within the realm of possible representative sets for this result and would justify the responses we have seen.

Software as a Service (SaaS) (1)

jihadist (1088389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822217)

Microsoft will have to offer more than upgraded versions, but it's caught in a conundrum. It can't charge for patches since its near-monopoly means that not offering patches free creates a disaster of socialized cost. But it can't make money just charging for upgrades. Look for support contracts and subscriptions to merge soon!

this from the company that says customers want WGA (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822433)

"Customers also want our Software Assurance products!"

Like fucking hell they do.

Definitely not representative! (2, Funny)

Gerocrack (979018) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822505)

What Microsoft hears from its customers probably involves a lot more profanity.

calculations (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822547)

if this year and next year 75% only of the customers renew their subscription, then they have lost 43.75% of their customers (100-0.75^2*100)
if the next year they lose another 25%, then 57.8125% are gone (100-0.75^3*100)
if the next year they lose another 25%, then 68.359375% are gone (100-0.75^4*100), more than two thirds

Re:calculations (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823663)

They're not losing their customers. They're only losing subscribers to their software assurance program, which probably wasn't much to begin with, since people complained strongly about it from day 1. The only worthwhile software subscription MS has is MSDN.

Software Assurance sucks, cuz it puts MS in a serious conflict of interest. So all it means is that they'll go back to a more reasonable model. Which I can't wait for.

Re:calculations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19824169)

According to my calculations using the OOXML spec., CEILING(-1017.5%) of IMPORTANT(Microsoft's) customers plan to renew 3 ZAMBIANOUNCES(cups)*ANGLETHINGY(radians OR degrees) of USGOctets WORTHCONTRACTS(GOINGDOWNING) per next LEAP(Thursday, ADDABITTOADJUST(+5)) last ... (with the WordPerfcet [sic] Arcsin Bell distrubition [sic] stat modifier flag active.

Oh, I do believe both of them. (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19822955)

If I planned to cancel a subscription, the one I subscribe to would be the LAST to know until it's time to sever the bonds. First of all, it saves me from the constant pestering from their marketing dept. to get me back on board for longer. And second, how inclined are you to support a customer that already declared very clearly that he's not going to be your customer much longer?

Change the title of the article (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 7 years ago | (#19823641)

It's not Microsoft partners that are balking. It's Microsoft's customers. There's a big difference.

Anyone Remember SQL Server 2003? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19824007)

I do, and I also remember shelling out the money for software assurance to it and being told it was "just around the corner".

Major MS Loss (1)

PGU5802 (981587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19824025)

I work for a major international food and beverage company. We are planning a vista migration from XP SP2 within the next two years. However, we are not renewing our corporate windows licensing, but rather acquiring many keys with each new computer that we order now. By the time we roll out Vista, we will have about 27,000 keys.

SA and the need for support (2, Informative)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19824153)

Many shops I know that buy SA rationalize their purchase claiming "support costs are lower".

It has been my experience that those shops need to make the support calls because they deployed a "bleeding-edge" product. (Bleeding-edge is defined as any microsoft product before service pack 1)

The IT shops that I have traditionally run do not buy SA. My strategy is simple - WAIT. Why do you need Exchange 2007 server RIGHT NOW? Is Exchange 2003 really not up to the task?

I've had success deploying products late in the software cycle. This gives Microsoft time to fix the bugs (and update the knowledge base), it gives ISVs time to support Microsoft's new product, and when something does go wrong that we can't solve in-house, we just pay the $250 per incident.

This also gives me the leverage to beat up my Microsoft representative when a new product does come out. The product must have added value or we don't buy.

-ted

The trump card (1)

samspock (762514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19824173)

If MS sees too many of their customers jump ship on SA then they will just come out with the next version that includes guaranteed upgrade rites to the next version even if it happens after the contract is over. Until then they will just laugh at all the suckers.

Uhm, not really (2, Insightful)

NTT (92764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19824339)

I believe that line should read:

Microsoft says the study is not representative of what it wants to hear from its customers.
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