A new report from Gartner market analysts urges enterprise customers to thoroughly review their Microsoft software licenses because a new licensing structure that goes into effect October 1 will significantly raise prices. Gartner's advice: If you can renew your licenses before the deadline, you can probably save a lot of money.

"Enterprises \[that want\] to buy upgrades to get to the latest version of Microsoft software products should do so by September 30, after which Microsoft's most widely used upgrade path won't be available," the Gartner report reads. "Changes in licenses will go into effect on October 1. On that date, Version Upgrades, Product Upgrades, Competitive Upgrades, and Language Upgrades will no longer be available. Microsoft extended the date for purchasing the Upgrade Advantage (UA) maintenance offering until February 28."

Microsoft describes the current period as a "transition between version 5.0 and 6.0" of its licensing structure; the next versions of the company's Volume Licensing programs, including Open License 6.0, Select License 6.0, Enterprise Agreement 6.0, and the new Enterprise Agreement 6.0 Subscription, will go into effect October 1. For more information, visit the Gartner and Microsoft Licensing Web sites.