Resellers are calling on Microsoft to deliver more upgrades to customers during the lifetime of its licensing deals, instead of other benefits such as extra training.
Microsoft last week detailed enhancements to its Software Assurance licensing scheme, offering customers further training vouchers, spam filters and tools to simplify deployment of its Office desktop software.
But resellers say they would prefer Microsoft to concentrate on delivering smaller, more frequent updates to its software.
This would help persuade customers that they are getting value out of long-term contracts, predicted Steve Hedegaard, sales director at public sector reseller Civica.
"It would get customers to buy into Software Assurance more than training vouchers," he said.
The Microsoft scheme has alienated customers, according to Gartner.
Research by the analyst earlier this month suggested that up to 10 per cent of customers could switch to open-source software by 2008. Gartner said customers felt the agreements did not offer value for money.
Microsoft has defended its licensing programme, arguing that customers have plenty of choices about how they license its software.
Mark Buckley, Microsoft's UK licensing marketing manager, said those that signed up to Software Assurance had received additional benefits such as allowing employees to use the software at home, and receiving new versions of Office and Windows Server 2003.
"The additional training credits will give Large Account Resellers and their training partners real opportunities to offer additional services," he said.
But Hedegaard countered: "The reality is customers are looking for upgrades within the lifecycle of the licence."
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