Microsoft Streamlines Open Value Licensing, Expands Reach

Last week at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., Microsoft unveiled a streamlined Open Value licensing structure for small and mid-size companies.

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.

About the Author

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


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