Buying Microsoft Software This Week? Come on Down to the Auto Mile!

Dennis Byron

When you're buying a new car, you always walk into the dealership knowing how the dealer is being spiffed by Detroit (or Toyota City or ). So it's just as important to know what kind of deals major enterprise software suppliers are offering their dealers, your suppliers, especially as you get down to the end of a quarter as in this week, the last week of 2009's fourth calendar quarter.


For example, Microsoft Financing covers software, services and partner products. As with all financing of the channel by manufacturers - like GMAC by General Motors or GE Credit by General Electric - the idea is to shorten the sales process, and increase turnover. In retailing, the concept is described as "a fast nickel is better than a slow dime."


That's your company's nickel they want, so go into any deal negotiation well armed. With hard goods manufacturing, the usual idea is to move some overstocked parts, but that does not apply to software, of course. Instead, Microsoft has hard evidence that you buy more if the deal is financed; that's its motivation for Microsoft to be the bank. Of course, it's not just Microsoft. IBM gets 2 percent of its revenue but a much higher percentage of its profits from its Financing business.


There's an advantage to your business as well if financing a deal lets your CFO better utilize assets elsewhere or take advantage of tax credits this year that he or she could otherwise not fund. And it lets you package the whole IT need in one place, giving you in IT and the CFO a better view of the real true cost of ownership.


You can get a quick view of the way a software supplier is thinking of its business in a given quarter by looking at its promotions. On the Microsoft partner Web site this week, we see that the following deals expire December 31:


  • Enterprise Subscription Agreement Promotion
  • Forefront Protection Security Promotion
  • Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006 Enterprise Edition Promotion
  • Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006 Standard Edition Promotion
  • Office Professional Plus 2007 No Better Time Promotion
  • Office Professional Plus 2007 Step Up Promotion


I'm not sure, but it looks like a possible good deal on some products that are likely to be replaced in 2010. My guess is that Microsoft is always promoting enterprise subscriptions.

Microsoft Financing is available in 15 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. But only official Microsoft large account resellers (LARs), enterprise software advisor (ESAs), systems integrator (SIs), and independent software vendors (ISV) offer Software License Financing, according to the Web site.


The deals are not the same everywhere and they end Thursday. But of course, as with car manufacturers, the deals will either get extended into next week or there will be new ones. Never pay sticker price.

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