Microsoft is considering a revamp in its OEM pricing and licensing strategy in an attempt to stem the flow of grey imports and pirated software into the UK dealer channel, according to a source close to the company.
A number of Microsoft's UK distributors are receiving mixed reports about the company's plans to change its strategy, although one channel analyst said that he believed it was "highly likely" that Microsoft would instigate licensing and pricing changes.
Any possible changes would centre on Windows 95 and Office 97 Small Business Edition. This could mean a cost reduction of the individual software applications down to around £50 to make them more attractive in the run-up to a Microsoft software upgrade season.
One distributor said that he'd heard Microsoft would make changes in three weeks and that it would be to try and "put an end to its US-UK pricing differentials".
However, some distributors are categorically denying that Microsoft is on the verge of such changes. "It won't happen," said John Fenton, managing director of leading Microsoft DSP Osmosis. "Someone is spreading a rumour and as far as I'm aware, it's not true."
Microsoft OEM product manager Steve Mann was unavailable for comment.