Peter Galli at eWeek has a shocker – Microsoft to Pay Reparations for Vista, Office Delays:
Microsoft is working on a new reparations strategy, known internally as a customer incentive program, for those customers with volume licensing programs who will be negatively affected by the delay in the release of Windows Vista and Office 2007.
Most enterprises buy volume licensing agreements from Microsoft, along with Software Assurance, which guarantees them the rights to all upgrades for any product covered by the agreement while it is in force.
But even if Microsoft sticks to its current timetable for the delivery of Vista and Office 2007, the delays mean that some customers who bought Software Assurance and who would have qualified for those upgrades if they had shipped as originally expected will not get them before their contracts expire.
This was always the hidden sword hanging over the Vista and Office delays and the article describes how Microsoft is putting a plan together to encourage the customers who got stiffed to renew their contracts. The plan is supposed to roll out in Fall 2006.
And speaking of incentives, Microsoft is also puzzling out the long anticipated plan for holiday PC buyers who won’t be able to get Vista:
Microsoft is also believed to be working on a separate program with OEMs and system builders for a “technical guarantee” for Vista.
This program will likely feature coupons providing consumers and businesses who buy systems with Windows XP during the rest of 2006 some kind of upgrade to Vista once that operating system launches in January 2007.
Fair enough, but rather predictable. Back in March when the Vista delay first hit, James Governor mentioned a novel idea of providing a Vista coupon with every Xbox 360 sold for the holidays:
This Christmas could see ludicrous numbers of kids waking up to an Xbox, especially if their parents are thinking they just got a bargain on the next PC…
Now that Zune is also on the menu, the same could apply there.
Update 8/15: When Is a Reparation Not a Reparation?