In addition, customers told Microsoft that they needed better manageability, so the company is rolling out new technology exclusively for Software Assurance customers, including the Corporate Error Reporting 2.0 software tool. This will send error reports generated on the network or desktop to the IT manager, rather than directly to Microsoft, as is now the case. The Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) tool, which is available to Microsofts largest enterprise customers, will now be available to all Software Assurance customers.Microsoft has also decided to give customers running Office under Software Assurance home-use rights for the software as well. Until now, users who installed the software at the office or on a laptop could not install it at home as well under the same license. Microsoft will now give those customers home-use rights for Office in the ratio of one home use right for every one Office Software Assurance license held. In order not to make this complicated for customers, who had told Microsoft they did not want any added burden, Microsoft is avoiding the need to involve the IT manager for this. "If the employee is eligible, they will go out to a Web site and submit their name, which will get validated. They will then have to submit a credit card number to pay a cost of goods charge of about $25 to cover shipping and handling, and we will send them a complete retail version of Office to their home, so they bypass the IT administrator at work," she said. The home-use rights will also apply to Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio customers, LaBrunerie said, adding that Microsoft is giving those home users discounts of more than 30 percent on retail prices if they want to buy up to three additional desktop Microsoft software products. "With this package of benefits we are hoping to deliver even greater value to our Software Assurance customers and to reconnect with them. While we are also always looking at ways we can further help our customers, Licensing 6.0 was the way we wanted to license our new business model, and todays announcement is just a reinforcement of that," she said. More Microsoft News:
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The tool was originally created to help OEMs deploy like images across multiple desktops, and is essentially a light version of a reimaging tool, she said.