Microsoft bends on software license deadline

Companies under financial pressure by the October start date for Microsoft Corp.’s new software licensing program say the vendor agreed to push the deadline for enrolment out another five months in response to threats of platform defections and other protests. Microsoft’s initial plan, announced in May, was essentially for companies with Open (five or more licenses) and Select (250 or more licenses) volume-licensing agreements to sign on for Microsoft’s new upgrade program, Software Assurance, by Oct. 1. But customers squawked because the plan, which replaces all other upgrade options and requires a yearly fee, can be a multimillion dollar decision – and one that they would rather not be forced to make by fall. The new deadline of Feb. 28, 2002 gives customers more time to contemplate their software strategy as they determine 2002 budgets.