Feeds

Tools to provide Windows licensing clarity

Go on, upgrade...

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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 ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.