For the first time in Microsoft New Zealand’s history, the company is offering a 12% discount and a subsidy cheque when customers buy at least five licences for Microsoft Office 2003 Professional Edition.
However, there is a catch — the customer must sign up for Software Assurance, Microsoft’s controversial maintenance and support system.
The cheque is payable to the Microsoft IT partner that the customer chooses, and will cover installation, training or IT assessment costs.
“There is another version of Office coming out at the end of this year, and we really want customers to purchase licences with Software Assurance, because then they get the right to upgrade to the latest version of Office,” says Anne Taylor, product manager for Microsoft Office Systems.
“We want to communicate to customers the value that Office has as a communication and collaboration tool.”
Microsoft New Zealand got the idea for the promotion from Microsoft US which ran a similar campaign. However, it didn’t have the associated 12% discount as well, she says.
When asked if the reason behind the promotion is difficulties selling Software Assurance as a concept, Taylor replies:
“I think we have a problem articulating the value of Software Assurance. If you think about it from a customer’s perspective, we will release another version of Office within the Software Assurance period, which is three years.”