Feeds

Tools to provide Windows licensing clarity

Go on, upgrade...

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft is preparing for a year of Windows client and Office launches with tools to help customers penetrate the fog of Microsoft's licensing agreements and upgrades.

The company has announced the introduction of the Microsoft product licensing advisor, an online tool for customers to compare and price-out volume licensing plans. The product licensing advisor will help education and business customers "better understand their licensing options" Microsoft said on Tuesday.

Microsoft's service is being introduced in three versions, culminating with an offering next spring that will enable customers to assess so-called business "solutions" and look for "best product" scenarios. Ahead of that, between now and January, the service will compare programs and offer downloadable price estimates.

A key feature will be the ability, in January, to add use rights and new Software Assurance (SA) benefits, which are due to become available in March 2006, into the mix.

SA is Microsoft's unpopular and controversial upgrade program for volume licensing users that has, according to analysts, helped increase customers' Windows licensing costs.

SA promoted a customer backlash following introduction in 2001 and 2002, as increased costs accompanied little perceived return on investment. Planned upgrades to the Windows client, Office, developer tools and SQL Server database were pushed outside the lifespan of customers' initial two- and three-year SA agreements.

Since then, Microsoft has been working hard to "add value" to SA, adding incentives such as the ability to upgrade across products, home-use rights and training vouchers.

Changes due in SA next year continue that trend while their inclusion in the product licensing advisor will potentially help customers assess their real value and, er, realize the benefits of upgrading.

For example, a planned Windows Vista Enterprise Edition, a derivation of the client formerly known as Longhorn, will be made only available to SA customers. Windows Vista Enterprise Edition is expected to feature Microsoft's Virtual PC Express, due for release in early 2006, which will allow legacy applications to run on Vista PCs.

With Longhorn, Office 12 and BizTalk Server 2006 due, SA customers will - from March - become eligible for "desktop deployment planning services" from Microsoft Consulting Services or certified partners that provide provide them with a "deployment roadmap" while information worker workshops are to be made available for SA customers holding training vouchers.

Microsoft also plans to expand the number of training vouchers available. Organizations signed-up under its enterprise and select volume licensing agreements with more than 30,000 Office application of client licenses will get additional vouchers from next March.

The Microsoft product licensing advisor will be available here ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.