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Rebecca LaBrunerie: Understanding Volume Licensing

Microsoft Licensing Program Manager Rebecca LaBrunerie answers user questions on volume licensing from an April 4 Webcast
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Power Point slides

SearchWin2000: I have purchased licenses under the Microsoft Charity License program that expire March 31, 2003. What happens at the end of the license period, Do I need to buy new licenses, pay to continue to use the licenses I purchased or what?
Your perpetual license never expires. You may continue to use that version or upgrade to the next version if you like through Software Assurance. SearchWin2000: SA cost per year was $29 in your example. Do you pay the two-year fee of $58 when you buy the product?
Yes, for desktop products Software Assurance would be $58 if you buy through Open, which is a 2 year agreement. It would be $87 if you buy through Select, which is a three-year agreement. With Select, you have the option of paying up front or spreading it out across the three-year term. SearchWin2000: Why would I buy Software Assurance on a product right now instead of Upgrade Advantage?
You would buy Software Assurance if you have current products and you want upgrade coverage. You would buy Upgrade Advantage if you have older products and you want upgrade coverage. SearchWin2000: I'm still not clear. What is Software Assurance Membership?
Software Assurance Membership is for customers who choose to buy Software Assurance for all of their products in the company. With this commitment, we provide other services such as discounts on training. More information SearchWin2000: Where can I find information on the separate SA product pools?
See the Product List here SearchWin2000: I use BackOffice products and have upgraded to BO 2000. Since BO will no longer be produced, would SA be more viable than just purchasing the single copies of programs?
The value of getting Software Assurance on your existing BackOffice components will depend on your upgrade cycles. If you plan on upgrading any of these components in the next four years, Software Assurance will save you money. SearchWin2000: Does Upgrade Advatage cover CUP (i.e. moving a cutsomer from Novell to Server 2000)?
No, it does not. Upgrade Advantage applies to Microsoft products only. SearchWin2000: So does the Enterprise Agreement and Select expire after three years and Open License expires after two years?
Yes. EA and Select terms are for two years, Open terms are two years. SearchWin2000: What do I do if I do NOT want a subscription for, say, Office?
If you don't want upgrade coverage or Software Assurance for Office, then just keep purchasing licenses each time you wish to upgrade. It's worth noting that we use "subscription" to refer to non-perpetual licenses. Software Assurance is upgrade coverage for perpetual licenses. SearchWin2000: What is the advantage to Microsoft in making this change?
Microsoft is changing our licensing programs to address the way businesses license products, including the entire software asset management process which is important for keeping the Total Cost of Ownership under control. These are important issues for today's IT manager. Equally important, Software Assurance provides predictability for Select and Open customers - rather than occasional large expenditures around upgrades. SearchWin2000: Can you help explain the point system?
We allocate points for products to determine your volume discount level. SearchWin2000: When will this program start?
Licensing 6.0 was effective October 1, 2001, but the transition will be over on July 31st, 2002. With the transition ending, Upgrade Advantage is going away and Software Assurance may only be purchased with a license. SearchWin2000: If we are not current and can't find funding before July 31st for UA, do I need to upgrade the licenses and then purchase UA to stay current?
In the US, there is a pilot program for financing Open Licenses, which should help if you are in the less than 250 range. If you have more than 250 seats, Select gives you the choice of paying up front or spreading it out over 3 years. Note that after July 31st, you would need to buy the License + Software Assurance to stay current: Upgrade Advantage will not be offered after July 31, and SA will not be offered independent of a license. SearchWin2000: Is it true, if a company purchases Open license agreements instead of a Select or Enterprise agreement, that they cannot legally use imaging products to roll out, say, Microsoft Office?
This is not true. We offer reimaging in Open, Select and Enterprise Agreements. MS Licensing SearchWin2000: Why would I buy through volume licensing when I can get upgrades cheaper through an OEM?
For some customers, purchasing through OEM with new PCs is the best option. If you like the benefits of volume licensing, which include software asset management tools, then we recommend that you buy through volume licensing. Your reseller or account manager can explore the options with you. SearchWin2000: Please explain Select "plan."
Please see the Select guide on for full information. But briefly, Select is for companies purchasing 250+ licenses who do not want to buy an Enterprise-wide Agreement. If, for example, they have multiple sites with decentralized IT purchasing. Select agreements are three-year terms. SearchWin2000: Is there a site for customers or resellers to get a list of their licenses purchased?
Yes, we provide secure websites for volume licensing customers to obtain this data. SearchWin2000: We purchase 80 to 100 workstations a year, replacing older workstations. Each of the workstations are purchased with the current OS and Office package (Standard, Pro, or SBE). How would this program benifit us? We are running everything from 98 to 2000.
You sound like you replace hardware frequently but you have many different products that you have to support. By using Software Assurance, you can standardize your products on one OS and one version of Office and reduce support costs as a result. This will reduce your TCO. SearchWin2000: What if you buy an OEM OS and you want to downgrade it? Can you legally do it?
Downgrade rights were added to Windows XP OEM products. If you have this product, you have rights to downgrade to Windows 98 SE and Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 Professional. But note that Windows 98, ME and XP Home are on a different track from NT Workstation, Windows 2000 Professional or XP Professional. You can downgrade within the same track, but can't move between consumer editions and professional editions of the OS.

Speaker bio:
Rebecca LaBrunerie has ten years of experience in software industry licensing. She currently coordinates communications for licensing and pricing at Microsoft, a role she has held for the past nine months She previously worked on initiatives to simplify and bring consistency to product usage rights under the company's many business models. Prior to joining Microsoft in 1999, Rebecca worked in corporate licensing sales, contracts negotiations, channel sales management, and legal and business affairs.

Read more LaBrunerie answers to user questions. SearchWin2000: What is the upgrade path for BackOffice licenses?
You may buy Software Assurance for the individual server components. If you plan on upgrading any of the components in the next four years, SA will save you money.

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