Microsoft has cut the price of leasing software by as much as 25 percent.
Companies can sign up for discounts on SQL Server, SharePoint and other Microsoft software, or two bundles of client-access licences, according to notices posted on the Microsoft Incentives website.
One special promotion is 'Simplify and Save', which offers savings of 15 percent for those who consolidate at least two existing licence agreements into an Open Value agreement. Microsoft said the discount will run for the entire length of a three-year licence deal.
Another offer is for between 15 percent and 25 percent off the price of the licence and the Software Assurance costs of running Exchange Server, Office Communications Server, SQL Server, Office SharePoint Server, Visual Studio, Office Project and other Microsoft software.
It is a condition of some Microsoft licence agreements that companies take out schemes such as Microsoft Software Assurance in order to keep their software properly licensed, and therefore eligible for upgrades and promotions. Industry estimates suggest this situation can add as much as £100 a year per PC to the cost of running applications.
The cuts are similar to those that Microsoft has made on the cost of licensing specific products. The Microsoft Office Project Assurance Pack's price has been cut by 25 percent, and Microsoft Project Server 2007 has seen a similar price fall.
According to one analyst, when it comes to special offers, Microsoft does not tell enough people about them. "This is good news for users but Microsoft should be shouting about offers like this," said Tony Lock, analyst with Freeform Dynamics. "Software Assurance is not widely recognised and deals like this, which seems pretty much across the board of Microsoft software, should be better known."
Lock said that, while Microsoft has good market share, it is "not nearly as good as it could or should be, given offers like this".