March 01, 2001, 10:55 AM — In another attempt to get sales of Windows 2000 unstuck, Microsoft has changed licensing options for Windows ME to discourage businesses from purchasing it for their desktops.
Microsoft will drop all volume licensing for end users of the consumer oriented Windows ME operating system, effective March 31. Similarly, volume deals on Windows 98 will end as of June 30. Since the Windows 9x line (this includes ME, which is based on the 9x kernel) has always been touted as the operating system for the home user, offering volume discounts never made a lot of sense (how many people do you know with 50 or more desktops -- at home?).
Nevertheless, Microsoft's rationale for dropping the volume deals ("its what the business market wants") is disingenuous at best. Raising the price on ME doesn't somehow make Windows 2000 less expensive. And the price of Win 2000 won't change as part of this "restructuring."
It does make the Win 2000 price seem less costly compared to ME and 9x, but it still won't be less than ME or 9x. Penny-pinching enterprises will still opt for the consumer operating system (and save some pennies), while technologically superior enterprises will have a better reason to choose the more robust business desktop operating system that is Win 2000.
Either way, Microsoft makes more money.