Microsoft Pares Down Product-Licensing Complexities

Redmond is making more tweaks to its volume-licensing plans. This time around, it's simplifying its product-use terms, as well as streamlining the number of licensing models it offers to business users.

Enterprise customers: Microsoft says it has felt your licensing pain.

On Wednesday, Microsoft told some of its key business users and partners that it will be revamping its volume-licensing program starting July 1 to simplify and clarify the way that users license products. Microsoft informed the customers and partners of the changes during one of the companys quarterly volume-licensing update phone calls.

Microsoft officials acknowledged that volume licensing of its products by large enterprise customers has been anything but easy.

For example, if a customer wanted to sign up under one of the Redmond, Wash., software vendors volume-licensing programs–such as an Enterprise, Select or Open agreement–the PUR (product use rights) document addressing the details weighed in at 100 pages. (The PUR is similar to an end-user licensing agreement, or EULA, except that it is targeted at volume, not retail, users.)

As of July, Microsoft will have cut the size of that document to 44 pages, largely by eliminating redundancies, said Sunny Charlebois, a product manager with Microsofts Worldwide Licensing and Pricing group.


Microsoft also is cutting from 70 to nine the number of product licensing models via which it makes volume-licensed products available, Charlebois said.

The nine new categories will be catch-alls covering the 70 Microsoft products that are available under volume licenses, she said.

Different families of products will be covered by different models, including per processor, per device and per user, Charlebois said.

Some products, such as SQL Server, will be offered under multiple licensing models–such as both per-processor and per-server CAL (Client Access License)–to give customers some flexibility, she said.

Microsoft did not announce any changes in the actual use rights of any of its volume-licensed products on Wednesday , Charlebois said. Nor do the changes have new implications for customers covered under Microsofts Software Assurance contracts, she said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: Microsoft Looks to Lessen Product-Licensing Complexities