The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Microsoft to change software licensing policy

Lake Buena Vista, Oct. 10 (Reuters): Microsoft Corp. made mistakes when it introduced a new software licensing plan this year that encourages customers to sign up for locked-in upgrades with fixed payments, chief executive Steve Ballmer said on Wednesday.

“We still have customers today who tell us, ‘Look, we can’t understand your end-user license agreement. It’s long and complicated. We don’t understand.’ So we’re looking to simplify those,” Ballmer said at the Gartner technology conference.

Ballmer said Microsoft would make some changes to the way it sells its software to businesses, after having made mistakes when it introduced a system of locked-in upgrades and fixed payments. The move, which was the biggest change in licensing in five years for Microsoft, ended up costing some customers more money, which Ballmer said was problematic.

“We know now we’re not going to simplify anything in the way that causes any of the kinds of hardships that we’re seeing financially for some of our customers today,” he said.

At the end of July, Microsoft implemented a new licensing plan that gave business customers a choice of paying regular installments for the right to upgrade to the latest software at any time, or opt out of the plan and pay the full price for a full-version software licence later.

Previously, customers bought a licence—the right to use software—and usually made one-time payments for an upgrade, often at a reduced price.

Microsoft shares closed at $ 43.99, down $ 1 or 2.22 per cent on Wednesday.

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