Microsoft's licensing changes on August 1, 2002, marked a moment in IT history. While the effect of the licensing changes on Microsoft's revenue, despite the modest take-up, was yet another demonstration of the huge economic power of the organisation’s world-wide franchise, the history that was made was more than just about a price rise or pulling forward revenue by forward billing.
Microsoft's Software Assurance offers no promises of bug fixes, no warranties, no rights to any specific delivery of value. As reports come in suggesting the company will delay its next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, into 2005, the new licensing regime raises the prospect of Microsoft taking the money and delivering no new version without any remedy for the customer.
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