MS unlikely to simplify licensing options

October 6, 2009 | 12:54

Tags: #steve-ballmer

Companies: #microsoft

Despite the general feeling being one of confusion, Microsoft head honcho Steve Ballmer has stated that customers won't be offered simpler licensing options any time soon.

As reported over on IT PRO, Ballmer used a press event in London yesterday to field a question regarding the often complex licensing options the company makes available to its customers. Despite confirming that the plethora of available options was confusing to customers, Ballmer stated that he didn't "anticipate a big round of simplifying our licensing."

Ballmer also admitted that Microsoft is sometimes guilty of hiding important clauses as to exactly what a licence grants in the fine print, stating that "I'm sure we have fine print we don't need. We're not saints."

Despite this, Ballmer claims that the complex nature can often benefit customers, allowing them to "find an approach which pays us [Microsoft] less money." He also voiced concerns that simplification of the licensing schemes could "lose something that people used to save money."

Ballmer also hinted at the difficult balancing act the company would face should it decide in the future to simplify and unify its disparate licensing schemes, pointing out that customers want the company to "simplify without a price increase" while "shareholders want simplicity without a price decrease."

There's clearly some hard feelings out there regarding Microsoft's convoluted licensing procedures, however: when the question was put to Ballmer it was met with a round of applause from the gathered audience of both journalists and Microsoft customers.

Do you believe that Microsoft could stand to make its licensing options more transparent, or is it up to the customer to find the loopholes that offer the greatest benefit? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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