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Licensing 6.0 Step-up Program on Tap

A few weeks after introducing a blockbuster list of changes to Licensing 6.0, Microsoft gave the licensing program another significant tweak in allowing Software Assurance customers with standard edition server software to upgrade to the enterprise edition at a reasonable price.

Currently, the only legal option for customers who, for example, have an application that outgrows the standard edition of SQL Server, is to buy a brand new license for SQL Server Enterprise Edition at full cost and find some other place in the enterprise to use the old SQL Server Standard Edition license.

Starting in July, however, Microsoft will introduce the Enterprise Edition Server Step-up License. Customers who already have a standard edition license and an Enterprise Agreement or Software Assurance covering that license can now upgrade to the enterprise edition for the difference in cost of the editions and any difference in cost between Software Assurance for the editions. The difference in cost can be spread over the remaining years of the Licensing 6.0 agreement.

Microsoft says the Enterprise Edition Server Step-up License is a promotional migration path that will be available only until September 2004.

For now, though, the program is a step back toward the multiple upgrade options Microsoft offered customers before dropping Software Assurance on customers as a one-size-fits-all upgrade method in August 2002.

The program applies to Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Internet Security & Acceleration Server, Commerce Server and several versions of BizTalk Server.

The change follows a raft of changes introduced last week and scheduled to go into effect in September. Those changes apply to Software Assurance customers and include free online support for standard edition server software, free telephone support during regular business hours for enterprise edition server software, Microsoft Office home-use rights and free product training. The new step-up license also will qualify users for the free telephone support.

The step-up program also follows other changes Microsoft slipped into Licensing 6.0 prior to last month. Earlier, Microsoft changed the terms of server licenses to allow customers to only pay for the processors they use the software on in large-scale SMP servers. Microsoft also provided two Client Access License types with Windows Server 2003 -- per-user and per-device -- an improvement over the older one-size-fits-all method.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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