All the tenets of software pricing, laid down by IBM Corp for its mainframes and slavishly copied by the rest of the industry, are being swept away with the erosion of IBM’s dominance, and now Hewlett-Packard Co is following Digital Equipment Corp in as an option – charging for all HP 3000 and HP 9000 […]
All the tenets of software pricing, laid down by IBM Corp for its mainframes and slavishly copied by the rest of the industry, are being swept away with the erosion of IBM’s dominance, and now Hewlett-Packard Co is following Digital Equipment Corp in as an option – charging for all HP 3000 and HP 9000 software according to the number of users on the machine, regardless of the processor size – the idea being that customers get to pay for what they actually use. The company now offers user-based licences tailored to the particular software product and its possible usage patterns. The licences correspond with the number of simultaneous users, and can be shared across the network or tied to individual accounts, depending on the software product. User-based pricing is available for operating systems, application- and software-development products. User-based pricing provides better utilisation of software, greater configuration flexibility and increased user access to software, the firm suggests. For systems-oriented software such as data communications and systems-management products, the company has made the systems-based approach to pricing more flexible. For HP 3000s, this software is priced per system, according to the number of users licensed for the HP MPE/iX operating system. For HP 9000 Unix workstations and business servers, system-oriented software is moving from a seven-tier model to a three-tier structure based on expandability, not processor power so that in both cases, customers can increase processing power without incurring software-upgrade fees – eat your heart out, IBM AS/400 users. Under the new three-tier structure, level one includes workstations and entry-level business servers; level two includes mid-range business servers; and level three includes the HP Corporate Business Servers. Customers can also evaluate software free via use of temporary licences. Once the customer decides to buy the software, Hewlett provides a password over the phone granting a permanent licence. The company is also seeking to help customers manage their software assets by enabling its software products to take advantage of its NetLS technology. NetLS is a vendor-neutral, client-server tool that manages software access based on systems, users, time or usage, and was chosen by the Open Software Foundation for the Distributed Management Environment and also has been adopted by the likes of IBM Corp. And the company has simplified software-support pricing for new orders. Support prices now are available on a product by product basis, replacing a more complex scheme based on categories of software. The simplified structure offers customers telephone support, and software and documentation updates that can be ordered at the time of product purchase.