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Microsoft tries to simplify software licensing schemes

Microsoft revamps its software licensing programme with simplified licensing options and the addition of a software leasing scheme.

Microsoft says it has considerably simplified its volume software licensing programme in its latest version, Open License 6.0. In place of several different schemes that existed in version 5.0, Microsoft now has a single scheme called Licence plus a single discount upgrade option called Software Assurance.

For those that may not want or can’t afford a significant outlay on licenses, Microsoft has also introduced a software leasing scheme, Open Subscription License (OSL.) This allows companies with 25 or more PCs to ‘rent’ three Microsoft products — Office XP, Windows 2000 Professional upgrade licenses and MS Back Office client licenses — for three years, after which they can buy the products at a 15% discount. Haider Salloum, regional marketing manager, describes the scheme as a, “good option for a company opening up.”

Customers under existing licensing schemes have until July 31 to buy software upgrade options. This will allow them to take advantage of product upgrades at discounted prices. If they miss the deadline, they will have to buy their next version upgrades at the full, per user price permitted under their licensing agreement.

The discounts that users are entitled to under Open License 6.0 depend on the number of PCs that they have. The discount ‘levels’ are 75 PCs, followed by 250 PCs. The discount is 7-9% per user, per level.

Companies must have a minimum of five PCs to qualify for Open Licence 6.0 discounts. Any PCs that are added during the lifetime of the two year agreement are entitled to the discounted prices.

One aspect of Open Licence 6.0 that may disappoint financial controllers is that payment has to be made in full at the start of the two year agreement. Salloum said some thought has been given to the possibility of having split payments, but that the idea has not yet gone any further. Microsoft resellers, he said, also have the freedom to offer more flexible payment options to their individual customers.

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