Microsoft Corp. is expanding its Software Assurance (SA) software upgrade plan to appease customers who complain the plan costs too much and offers too little.

Depending on the product, license type and number of licencs bought, SA from Sept. 1 will include support, training, software installation tools, rights to use the software at home and discounts on other Microsoft products, Microsoft said Tuesday. SA today only offers the right to use the latest version of the software bought.

Microsoft introduced SA in 2001 together with Licensing 6.0, a revamped volume licensing programme. Analysts and users blasted Licensing 6.0 and SA as nothing but an ordinary price hike.

"We are responding to our customers who were asking for more value in Software Assurance," said Rebecca LaBrunerie, Worldwide Licensing and Pricing product manager at Microsoft. "We learned our lessons with Licensing 6.0."

The additions to SA are the result of talks with more than 2,500 Microsoft customers around the world, LaBrunerie said.

However, the changes to SA are not only to address customer complaints. Microsoft also hopes more customers will buy into the plan now that it has some added features, LaBrunerie said. "We hope that with these additions even more customers will look at Software Assurance," she said.