Late last week Microsoft announced changes to Software Assurance - its licensing and maintenance scheme for larger customers.
From March 2006 customers signing up to Software Assurance will get more benefits than just automatic upgrades and spread payments. Desktop Deployment Services will offer help, consultants and planning for upgrades.
Customers will get Windows Vista Enterprise which provides encryption and makes integrating different languages easier. Anyone signing up for more than 30, 000 licenses will get "an additional number of training vouchers".
Windows Fundamental for Legacy PCs is a way for companies to maintain legacy PCs
Software assurance, or licensing 6.0, was introduced amidst some controversy in 2002, it was tweaked a little last year. Its introduction led to a sales spike as companies rushed to renew their old agreements rather than sign up to the three-year agreements. It offered guaranteed upgrades during the life of the contract - but many companies regard this as a chore rather than a benefit.