Microsoft Unveils New Volume Licensing Plan

Microsoft has a new software volume licensing program in the works for large organizations, according to an announcement issued by the company today.

Microsoft has a new software volume licensing program in the works for large organizations, according to an announcement issued by the company today. The Microsoft Select Plus program, planned for later this year, will let companies use a single ID to track their licensing contracts company wide.

Availability of the Select Plus program is planned for sometime in the fall. It' an upgrade to Microsoft's current Select licensing program, but it costs the same if customers have an existing Select account.

The program may help large organizations qualify for volume discounts.

"There are some significant benefits," explained Chris Voce, an analyst at Forrester Research. "One is that it allows customers to aggregate the purchasing within disparate parts of their organization in order to leverage a greater overall number -- i.e., it translates to a deeper discounts in purchasing."

Licensees typically get discounts based on a point system associated with various Microsoft products, which are licensed in three categories: applications, systems and servers. As the licensing points go up, the organization becomes eligible for the next discount tier.

Microsoft also has a software maintenance program called Microsoft Software Assurance (SA), which is fixed to a three-year contract. SA lets organizations upgrade to the next software version and also provides support and training. With Microsoft Select Plus licensing in place, customers can sign up for the SA program and get a full 36 months of coverage.

Previously, the SA program gained infamy for truncating a licensees' coverage based on when they signed up for the program. For instance, if they signed up mid-year for SA, they would receive just 30 months of coverage instead of 36 months. There's also some guesswork associated with the SA program. If Microsoft slips a projected software upgrade schedule, SA participants are faced with having to buy another three years of SA coverage to take advantage of the upgrade.

Microsoft has the highest rates in the industry for its software maintenance program, according to Voce, but Microsoft also adds incentives to SA, such as online training. He estimated the SA cost for desktop products at 29 percent on top of the licensing fee per year. For those using Microsoft server products, the SA cost is 25 percent on top of the licensing fee per year.

Still, Microsoft's SA program brings more to the table than just a software upgrade.

"If you look at Oracle, Oracle charges 22 percent," said Duncan Jones, senior analyst at Forrester Research. "Most software companies charge around 20 percent, maybe some as low as 15 percent. But there is more in Microsoft's program than just the upgrade rights, so the comparison is a little difficult."

Organizations can qualify for Select Plus if they are already participating in another Microsoft volume licensing agreement or if they have an existing "Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Campus Agreement or School Agreement," according to the announcement. For new customers, it takes 500 points to participate in the program.

More details on Select Plus and other Microsoft licensing agreements can be found here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


  • How To Improve Windows 10's Sound and Video Quality

    Windows 10 comes with built-in tools that can help users get the most out of their sound and video hardware.

  • Microsoft Offers More 'Solorigate' Advice Using Microsoft 365 Defender Tools

    Microsoft issued yet another article with advice on how to use its Microsoft 365 Defender suite of tools to protect against "Solorigate" advanced persistent threat types of attacks in a Thursday announcement.

  • Microsoft FastTrack Support Extended to Microsoft 365 Defender Solutions

    The Microsoft FastTrack support program has been extended to Microsoft 365 Defender products for certain qualified subscribers, Microsoft indicated this week.

  • Microsoft 365 File-Size Support Expanding to 250GB

    Microsoft 365 users will be getting expanded file-size support, allowing files to be shared that are 250GB maximum in size, per a Microsoft announcement this week.

comments powered by Disqus