Microsoft Streamlines Open Value Licensing, Expands Reach
- By Paul Desmond
Last week at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., Microsoft
unveiled a streamlined Open Value licensing structure for small and mid-size
Starting in October, the company will offer one version of the licensing program,
instead of the many regional and industry "flavors" currently offered.
The program is also being expanded into Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Brent Callinicos, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Licensing and Pricing
group, said that the company changed the structure of the program based on partner
and customer feedback.
According to Callinicos, although the different versions of Open Value worked
well separately, "when customers merged their businesses, crossed geographic
boundaries, or had different entities that required different types of Open
Value licenses, customers and partners told us they ended up wrestling with
the complexity and lack of consistency across the programs."
"We've taken the best of the many flavors of that program, including flexibility
and best practices, and consolidated them into a single offering," he continued.
Sunny Charlebois, product manager for Worldwide Licensing and Pricing, said
Open Value contracts deliver at least three customer benefits. First, they help
customers improve license tracking, by giving them a single place to track all
their Microsoft licenses, as opposed to the hodge podge customers face if they
buy software from retailers, OEMs and other sources.
The contracts also help customers manage their upgrade cycles and make desktops
easier to manage by keeping them all on the same software release. Finally,
customers get volume discounts and help with cash management by stretching payments
over time, Charlebois said.
Orlando Ayala, senior vice president, Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner
Group, noted in a keynote address at the Partner Conference that spreading payments
over three years leaves customers more money to spend on services provided by
partners. He also said the Open Value contract is now only five pages long,
down from about 30, “and you don’t need a law degree to understand
it.” Additionally, Ayala noted the ordering process has been reduces from
days to minutes.
Paul Desmond, the founding editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine, is president of the IT publishing firm PDEdit in Southborough, Mass. Reach him at [email protected].