Product licensing tool hits milestone

Microsoft released an updated version of its Product Licensing Advisor, which includes a richer set of information to help customers evaluate various purchasing scenarios.

A free tool that Microsoft created to help customers demystify its licensing and pricing data has reached a new milestone in its development.

The company said it expanded its Product Licensing Advisor, which lets IT administrators plug in data about specific configurations to get an idea of what a certain scenario might cost. The tool now includes information for locations worldwide. When Microsoft released it in November 2005, it only provided licensing data for U.S. customers.

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The updated tool also includes some of the benefits to Software Assurance that Microsoft added last September, which will become officially available in March. Some of these benefits are software service vouchers and extended 24x7 technical support.

The Product Licensing Advisor now includes information for corporations, academic and charity organizations, and local governments about open license agreements; and for academic, government and corporate organizations, there is information about Select License agreements.

As it promised when it introduced the initial version of this software last November, Microsoft expects to make regular improvements to the software. Eventually, it will offer public and private versions of the Advisor. The next update is expected out later this spring.

The tool is available at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/mplahome.mspx.

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