Open Value programme to help MS expand into SMBs

Microsoft has simplified its licensing programmes, offering easier and more negotiable licensing terms, in order to expand its reach to small and medium-businesses (SMBs).

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  July 31, 2005

Microsoft has simplified its licensing programmes, offering easier and more negotiable licensing terms, in order to expand its reach to small and medium-businesses (SMBs). The company has renamed its Open License Value programme — a software volume licensing programme available for those running less than 250 PCs — to Open Value to reflect the changes. Brent Callinicos, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s worldwide licensing and pricing group, said that the licensing programme had to be modified to eliminate the complexities caused by the various revisions that were done on the licensing terms to accommodate regional requirements. “Over the past two years, the Microsoft Open Value programme has morphed into a couple of different programmes worldwide, such as Multi Year Open (MYO),” he said. “Whenever a particular geographic region of the world or a particular industry segment required a slightly different flavour of Open Value, we created a new programme — a slightly localised version, or a version that addressed the needs of that industry,” Callinicos added. “These various flavours have done a good job of providing what SMBs need in the way of licencing. But when custom- ers merged their businesses, crossed geographic boundaries, or had different entities that required different types of Open Value licences, customers and partners told us they ended up wrestling with the complexity and lack of consistency across the programmes,” he continued. The updated version of Open Value has removed unnecessary legal jargon from the contracts, reducing the contract size by half. The new agreement lets SMBs licence two new software bundles of core technology — the Professional Platform and the Small Business Platform — under the new Open Value contract. The Professional Platform includes Office Professional Edition; a Microsoft Core Client Access License (CAL) for Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint Portal Server and Systems Management Server; and a Windows Professional Desktop Upgrade. The Small Business platform includes Office Small Business Edition, a Windows Small Business Server CAL and a Windows Professional Desktop Upgrade. The programme will be made available through Microsoft’s various regional channel models thereby making the acquisition process easier for customers. “[We have] increased efficiencies of the process for our partners," Callinicos said. "The announcement represents the kind of ongoing developments that customers and partners will see coming from Microsoft moving forward. We are committed to making it easier for customers to understand licensing and not have to deal with as many point solutions as they have in the past.” “These steps also enable our partners to spend more time adding value for our mutual customers rather than getting mired in the licensing processes,” he continued. Microsoft’s decision to eliminate the regional differences among its different regional licensing offerings is a positive development for SMBs, said Gartner analyst Alvin Park. However, he recommends that SMBs, especially those with rudimentary software asset management capabilities, should evaluate Open Value and weigh against other licensing packages. “Compare the new Open Value offerings against Open Business, Open Volume, Select Level A and Enterprise Agreement (EA) Level A, and build your licence management strategy around the programme that best fits your business’s use of Microsoft products,” he said.

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