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CNET News: Microsoft Casts .Net into Upcoming Office

May 16, 2002, 16:00 (19 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Wilcox)

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"[Gartner analyst David] Smith said that Microsoft's increase in volume licensing fees--more than 100 percent for some companies--directly accounts for much of the interest in StarOffice among Microsoft's Office customer base. The increases will come through a new licensing program called Software Assurance that will commit customers to buying operating system and application upgrades for an annual fee.

"'Some of these (StarOffice) pilots are in place to get Microsoft to back down on the licensing changes,' Smith said. 'We think the interest is serious enough that if Microsoft doesn't change its pricing and licensing strategy, it will lose 10 percent of the Office market to StarOffice and alternatives in a couple 2004.'

"Such a shift, while seemingly dramatic, wouldn't do much to dent Microsoft's dominance in the office productivity market. Smith estimated that Office could drop from 95 percent to 85 percent share--'and that's certainly not going to break the company. Nonetheless, they're very concerned about StarOffice in Redmond...'"

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