MS decision two weeks away

The Commerce Commission says it is about two weeks away from a decision on whether it will investigate Microsoft for alleged anticompetitive behaviour.

The Commerce Commission says it is about two weeks away from a decision on whether it will investigate Microsoft for alleged anticompetitive behaviour.

The commission was still collecting information from Microsoft last week, according to spokeswoman Jackie Maitland.

It has been seven weeks since Infraserv, the operations arm of Auckland law firm Clendon Feeney, laid a complaint against Microsoft centring on the software company’s new licensing regime, Software Assurance.

Maitland says the commission spreads its resources across its regulatory functions, in addition to its investigation and enforcement role under various acts. “In the area of market behaviour we are dealing with complex issues. No two complaints or inquiries are the same, and there is no standard period for an inquiry or an investigation to end.”

Microsoft customers have until July 31 to either sign up to Software Assurance or lose their licence upgrade rights. Research company Gartner last week warned Microsoft enterprise customers to review their software licensing contracts or risk paying higher prices down the road as the software maker prepares to make the switch to a licensing programme that is more similar to a lease (see Gartner to Microsoft customers: Plan now).

Microsoft New Zealand business licensing manager Jillian Goodman says the company can’t provide specific numbers of how many local customers have signed up for Software Assurance as the programme doesn’t go live in full until July 31. “However, Microsoft’s Upgrade Advantage programme, which is an entry point for Software Assurance, is going extremely well,” she says.

But opposition to Software Assurance is mounting. In New Zealand ENZA, NZ Insurance, Cavalier Bremworth and Stagecoach/Fullers have said they won’t be signing up.

Overseas, customers have criticised the company for forcing upgrades on users before they are ready to install new software. Under the previous upgrade programmes large software customers were able to upgrade at their own pace and still enjoy discounts.

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