Big users stall Microsoft’s ‘Windows tax’ plans

Microsoft has extended the deadline for introducing controversial new software licensing arrangements after coming under fire from major corporate customers.

The world’s biggest software producer planned to end many existing licence upgrade discount schemes for large users on 1 October, replacing them with a subscription-based structure. Now Microsoft has extended the transition period until July next year.

The company admitted customers had complained that the original five-month changeover was not long enough. ‘Given the economic climate, it is clear our customers were right,’ said Microsoft. It claimed the extension would give users more time to consider their options.

The Infrastructure Forum (TIF) – a group representing some the UK’s biggest corporate IT users – had been especially scathing about the plans. TIF accused Microsoft of planning to impose a ‘windows tax’ on business, which it claimed would cost its members an extra £880m over a four-year investment cycle.

TIF welcomed the extension but claimed Microsoft had failed to address the root of the problem.

‘We certainly agree that more time is required, but time alone will not resolve the fundamental concerns of customers,’ said TIF.

‘Microsoft has still not recognised in any of its announcements that the most popular mechanism for licence upgrades has been removed – without customer consultation.’

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