Briefs: Microsoft enhances licenses; IBM revamps pSeries; AOL and MS settle

Microsoft adds services and programs for licensees; pSeries gets faster performance, lower price; Microsoft and AOL settle their Netscape lawsuit

Microsoft Sweetens Licensing 6.0 Pot by Scott Bekker(Courtesy of

Microsoft this week rolled out changes to the controversial Software Assurance component of Licensing 6.0 in an attempt to make the program more attractive to customers. The changes don't make Software Assurance any cheaper, but Microsoft has thrown in additional services for the same price.

Software Assurance (SA) is the upgrade-right component of Microsoft volume license agreements. When Microsoft implemented Licensing 6.0, the company eliminated several previous upgrade options in favor of the subscription-like SA model, which has customers pay a percentage of the software's cost every year (25 percent of server software, 29 percent of desktop applications and operating systems).

Amid complaints that SA offers fewer benefits for companies at a higher cost than similar programs from competitors like IBM, Oracle and others, Microsoft on Tuesday announced several new services, programs and rights that will be offered to SA customers without additional charge beginning in September.

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IBM Revamps pSeries Low-End

IBM announced the eServer p615, a new entry-level pSeries system that it says offers greater performance at a lower cost than its predecessor, the venerable eServer p610.

The new pSeries p615 is available in rack-mounted or deskside versions and is outfitted with Big Blue’s Power4+ processors.

IBM says the new eServer p615 is suitable for enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, customer relationship management, and business intelligence applications. Customers can cluster multiple systems together for use in scientific research or data modeling applications.

The new p615 offers expanded internal storage, and supports more than one terabyte of internal disk storage. It features six PCI slots.

IBM says that IT administrators can manage the p615 remotely using a handheld wireless PDA or other wireless devices.

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Microsoft-AOL Settle Netscape Lawsuit by Scott Bekker(Courtesy of

Microsoft will pay AOL-Time Warner $750 million to settle the private antitrust lawsuit involving AOL's Netscape browser, the companies said Thursday afternoon.

The settlement closes an antitrust lawsuit AOL brought against Microsoft in January 2002. Building on antitrust case findings that Microsoft had used anticompetitive practices to leverage its operating system monopoly to help its Internet Explorer come from behind to dominate the browser market, AOL had sought triple damages. When the browser wars were going on, Netscape Communications owned the Netscape Navigator browser. AOL bought Netscape in March 1999.

"While our companies will continue to compete, I'm pleased that we've been able to resolve our prior dispute, and I'm excited about the opportunity to work together collaboratively to make the digital decade a reality," Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, said in a statement.

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About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.