Feeds

Tools to provide Windows licensing clarity

Go on, upgrade...

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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 ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.