Helping Customers Find Price
Data"> Given that there are currently more than 8 million price points worldwide, the Worldwide Licensing and Partner group is also working to help customers more easily find the product price information they need. In October, the number of price points and SKUs will be reduced for each of the programs, with individual language SKUs with the same pricing all being referred to by a single term: Single Language. So, for example, SQL Server English will now read SQL Server Single Language.These moves will reduce the number of Select price points by 51 percent and the number of SKUs by 72 percent; the number of Open Value price points will fall by 50 percent and the SKUs by 51 percent; while the number of Open License price points will drop by more than 32 percent and the number of SKUs by 33 percent.But no prices will change as a result of the pricing updates, which are designed to "help customers and partners more easily find product price information with the reduced number of price points and SKUs per Volume Licensing program," Sloane said. Microsoft is also introducing a new Volume Licensing Service Center, which will provide online solutions for volume licensing customers looking to more easily manage their agreements and products. The Windows installed base is set to reach the 1 billion mark. Read more here. They will also be able to download the software available under their volume agreements, request product keys, and view a comprehensive license summary across their programs and agreements. The first phase of this service center, which started running the week of Sept. 3, is a user interface that helps make the data on the Volume Licensing site more manageable. "Over the next 18 to 24 months, we will continue to make improvements to the database and user interface so customers can better manage their assets," Sloane said. "This initial version provides customers with access to their Microsoft license statement, an improved product downloads experience, enhancements to the product key retrieval process and localization into 24 languages." The new service center does not replace any existing resources, but rather provides a single location for Volume Licensing customers to easily access and manage their licensing agreements and products. "Historically, customers would have to go to multiple locations to find and download software available under their volume license entitlements, to view and request volume licensing product keys, and calculate current Microsoft license statements to get an easy-to-understand, comprehensive license summary across programs and agreements," she said. "Our vision is to consolidate the Microsoft Volume Licensing Services and the eOpen sites for Open, Open Value, Select and Enterprise Agreement customers, under this center," Sloane said. Are consultants needed to clarify software licenses? Click here to read more. Microsoft also plans to reduce the number of software products it ships on CD to all its customers globally by shipping only the most widely used software products on disk. These fulfillment changes went into effect on Sept. 1 for its Enterprise Agreement and Select License customers. Products that will continue to be shipped to customers on disk include Microsoft Exchange Server, Operations Manager Server, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Office SharePoint Server, Office Project, SQL Server, Systems Management Server Enterprise Edition, Office Visio, Visual Studio, Windows Server and Windows Vista. The rest will be made available for electronic download from the Volume Licensing Services Web site. "The software that will only be available via download includes stand-alone copies of Office products such as Access and InfoPath, or Excel for Mac, and some of the more specialized servers such as Speech Server," Sloane said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.