Frustrated Microsoft users explore options

Frustration with Microsoft is prompting more companies to consider "un-Windows" alternatives, according to a study released Tuesday.

"Corporate user resentment and dissatisfaction with Microsoft and some of its practices is at an all-time high," says Laura DiDio, senior analyst with the Yankee Group and the report's author. That frustration is pushing more companies to consider Linux-based operating systems as well as Apple Computer Inc.'s OS X, she says.

Licensing Hostility

The survey, conducted last April and May by the Yankee Group and Sunbelt Software, asked 1500 corporations about their satisfaction with Microsoft. Bottom line: Many customers aren't happy.

At the heart of people's dissatisfaction is Microsoft's new Licensing 6.0 program. The new policy launched on August 1 after confusion and delays dating back to last October. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they are "outraged" by Microsoft's new licensing scheme, and are actively seeking alternate products, DiDio says.

The new volume-licensing program--called Software Assurance--asks corporate buyers to pay higher prices for new products as well as for maintenance and upgrade services, she says. And those who don't stay current with updates will pay more down the line. At a time when corporate budgets are tight, such tactics are not going over very well, she says.

Corporate customers understand that Microsoft is facing declining revenues as companies slow down their PC upgrade cycles. But many feel the company has drastically overstepped its bounds, she says.

Writes one Yankee Group respondent: "For frickin' sake they have (US)$36 billion in the bank and they are trying to squeeze us."

Another writes: "I can't stand being bullied by Microsoft like this."

What's notable about the customer frustration is that it hasn't cooled over time, DiDio says. A similar study conducted in October 2001 showed people were already fuming, and that frustration clearly hasn't waned, she says.

Not only businesses are feeling the pinch of Microsoft's updated licensing plan, either. School districts in Oregon and Washington made headlines earlier this summer when they complained loudly over Microsoft's new licensing requirements.

Other Annoyances

Microsoft's new licensing scheme draws the most ire, but the customer respondents cite several other reasons for considering Windows alternatives, DiDio says. Many point to the company's numerous delays of business-class products designed to work with Windows XP. Others profess confusion over the company's .Net strategy of Web services and applications. Still others note their ongoing frustration with Microsoft's perceived monopolistic practices and ongoing legal issues with the Department of Justice.

Finally, Microsoft's ongoing security issues are a factor for many users. Despite Microsoft's assurances that it is working to improve security in its products, few customers feel reassured. "It seems not a day goes by that you don't hear about some security flaw," DiDio says.

Despite these issues, the analyst doesn't expect an immediate, major shift in the OS market. Windows owns about 90 percent of the desktop market, with the various Linux distributions and Apple splitting the final 10 percent.

"Windows is the dominant OS--and that's not going to change any time soon," DiDio says. "There is no mass defection, no march on Redmond." But she says Linux and Apple fans--small but enthusiastic groups--should feel optimistic. "Basically it was clear--there are changes in the wind."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Mainelli

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?