Microsoft licensing changes - your views

Do you not like this...

Do you not like this...

Microsoft has failed to persuade users of the benefits of its new licensing scheme to such an extent that some are even considering defecting to Linux. Microsoft claims its new licensing plans benefit users, making it cheaper for them to keep up to date with the latest software, but the plans have stirred up resentment among IT directors. Some estimates say the new licensing scheme will nearly double the cost of Windows for the average business and a number of silicon.com readers have been telling us just how unhappy they are with the situation. One reader, a chief technology officer who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Our answer to Microsoft's latest licensing policy is to freeze our current systems at Windows 2000, migrate most or all of our servers to Linux, and prepare for shifting the desktop environments to a non-Microsoft platform if and when Windows 2000 is no longer supported." Users have until 31 July to sign up to the new licences or risk paying full price for a licence the next time they want to upgrade. Those that have no wish to upgrade can avoid paying the new licences, but risk being hung out to dry when Microsoft stops supporting older versions of Windows. Microsoft has already signalled its intention to stop supporting Windows 95 and 98 in the near future. Robert Dickie, IT manager for engineering company the McKean Group, said: "We're moving all of our servers over to Mandrake Linux as soon as possible, simply because the amount of money Microsoft is now asking makes it uneconomical for us. "We're even considering Linux on some of our desktop PCs." Cynicism regarding Microsoft's motives was the most common response to the news, with many complaining it was Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop environment that allowed it to hike its prices. Microsoft claims the new licences will save users money, allowing them to keep their software up-to-date cheaply. But many say this ignores the commercial reality that most companies don't upgrade desktop software more than once every four or five years. silicon.com reader Nicholas Palmer said: "Sure, you'll save money - if you upgrade every 18 months when Bill says. No thanks." David Roberts, CEO of IT directors' association The Infrastructure Forum (tif), claimed there is still widespread resentment. He said: "Microsoft doesn't understand how much damage it's done to its relationship with its customers by enforcing this, even among those who have signed up."