Microsoft's Office upgrade cycles helped by Software Assurance licensing

Summary:Microsoft will see an upgrade cycle for Office 2010, but it will take a while. In fact, Microsoft's software assurance licensing, which allows you to buy rights for future upgrades, is the biggest support of upgrades, says Forrester Research.

Microsoft will see an upgrade cycle for Office 2010, but it will take a while. In fact, Microsoft's software assurance licensing, which allows you to buy rights for future upgrades, is the biggest support of upgrades, says Forrester Research.

In a report outlining Microsoft's recent licensing changes---Office Pro Plus goes up 5 percent, new virtualization and mobile options and policies and other tweaks---Forrester highlights Microsoft's potential Office conundrum.

To wit:

  • Forrester's survey of 110 IT execs found 60 percent of respondents are very or extremely satisfied with Office 2003 and 2007.
  • Only a quarter of customers keep up with Microsoft's 3-year Office upgrade cycles and 60 percent still use Office 2003.
  • Support and file compatibility drive upgrades as much as new features.

And Forrester's money graphic:

Add it up and Microsoft's licensing programs, which give you rights for future upgrades, is the most popular reason folks will move to Office 2010.

However, Microsoft's software assurance program may not make sense for companies that plan to skip versions. Forrester writes:

For many Forrester clients, SA (software assurance) on Office is too expensive. Buyers considering renewing an EA (enterprise agreement) or adding SA to an Office 2010 purchase will struggle to see sufficient value in Office upgrade rights when they don’t know what the next version will contain or when they’ll want to move to it...Microsoft’s business division is trying to preserve more than $10 billion a year revenue from its flagship product. It does not believe that it can generate sufficiently higher SA uptake to justify cutting its price.

Related: Microsoft to phase out Select licensing starting in July 2011

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Software

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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