Microsoft defends licensing plan

Microsoft New Zealand says its new licensing model, which has prompted an Auckland company to lay a complaint with the Commerce Commission, is designed to simplify licensing.

Microsoft New Zealand says its new licensing model, which has prompted an Auckland company to lay a complaint with the Commerce Commission, is designed to simplify licensing.

Infraserv, the operations arm of law firm Clendon Feeney, has submitted a complaint to the commission alleging anticompetitive behaviour centred on Microsoft’s Software Assurance licensing model (see Microsoft NZ hit with Commerce Commission complaint).

Software Assurance requires customers to pay two years in advance for the right to any Microsoft software upgrades, regardless of whether or not Microsoft releases any upgrade within those two years. In the past customers have bought upgrades as they required them.

But Microsoft New Zealand boss Ross Peat defends the change.

"Our new business licensing programme was designed to make this complex process easier to manage, and make it easier for organisations to buy and track their software," Peat says.

He says Microsoft believes it has complied with New Zealand law in how it sells software and can explain “the improvements to our new licensing programme and show how the programme is similar to those of our competitors" to the Commerce Commission.

The commission is assessing whether it will take the complaint further.

Clendon Feeney managing partner and Computerworld contributor Craig Horrocks claims Software Assurance is designed to smooth Microsoft's cashflow but will have the effect of costing customers more.

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