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Microsoft Running an Extortion Racket?

I spent literally months trying to understand Microsoft's Software Assurance (SA), and even though I wrote two major features, I feel I never gained total command. That's because Microsoft doesn't want you to understand its licensing. Confusion gives Microsoft sales an advantage.

A Forbes columnist is on the SA trail, provocatively asking if SA is actually extortion. Why is it extortion? Because to get Microsoft's higher-end security and virt products, you pretty much have to buy SA, which is nearly a third the cost of your original software license -- every year!

In my analysis I found SA customers get deeper volume discounts and access to a bunch of perks. If your software gets upgraded in a timely manner (free upgrades come with a SA license but the product has to ship before the contract terms expire) and you truly exploit all the bennies, SA is cost effective. If not, it ain't.

If you want to read what I wrote, here they are: "SA Exposed," "7 Steps to a Better Bargain."

What is your honest take on Software Assurance? Come clean at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/09/2012 at 1:19 PM


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