Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager, Blog

You're asking the wrong question... And it may be costing you money.

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You're asking the wrong question... And it may be costing you money.

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A question we get asked is, "Why should a Small Business consider buying Microsoft software through the various Volume Licensing Programs, such as Open License, instead of just buying their software through Retail Box product?"  This question makes a general assumption, that retail boxed product is the "right" way to purchase software for a business and that Volume Licensing must prove itself as a viable option, that is fundamentally flawed from the beginning.

In reality, the question you really should be asking is, "Why WOULD a Small Business buy software via Retail Boxed software instead of Open License?"  By choosing retail boxed software for your business, you are probably paying more, getting less, and creating a paper-tracking burden for your company that you do not need to do.  Now who thinks that makes good business sense????

Instead of typing the entire description of this here without visuals, we have posted the explanation (including visuals) of the above in a document called, "Open vs. Retail Print Version," in the MS Small Biz Shared Documents section of the MS Small Business Community SharePoint Site ( or you can also hear me explain it verbally (along with visuals) in the replay of the December 9th, "Understanding MS Licensing To Save Money," session which is posted in the LiveMeetings section of the MS Small Business Community SharePoint Site (

Save money, get more, and protect your software investments just by understanding this topic.  I think you will find that the short amount of time it takes to go through the Open Vs. Retail Print Version document or the December 9th replay of the Understanding MS Licensing session to be more than worth it.  (And that is the feedback we have been receiving from others who have already done so). 

Have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Small Business Development Manager – U.S. Central Region

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

  • What you say is true in a marketing BS way. The current rebate is a good deal and assuming Longhorn will be released in 2007 means that new Open License customers might not be feel ripped off like many current and past Open License customers feel.
    "Hey, what a great deal this is! Please forget that we told you the same thing 3 years ago, when it wasn't that great a deal at all!"
    That stuff doesn't work but once. Why would someone buy boxed software instead of Open Licensing? Because they have already tried Open Licensing.
  • Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post and I have a few follow-up questions/comments in regards to your reply. As for marketing BS, let me quickly point out that my job is not marketing and I am not part of our marketing organization. Now for the comments in your reply:

    1) What does Longhorn or future upgrades have to do with my original post? The intent of my original post was to show a direct comparison between the prices of a License through Open Business versus Retail Boxed product and had nothing to do with future upgrades vs. Software Assurance. (Which is another topic that is covered in the December 9th Licensing session replay referenced in my original post if you wish to hear about that topic).

    2) Even without the Windows XP Pro Rebate in place, do a direct comparison of the price of a Windows XP Pro Upgrade purchased through Retail Box vs. Open Business: Windows XP Pro Retail Box Upgrade ERP: $199. Windows XP Pro Open Business Upgrade ERP: $186. Where is the rip-off there? Save the $13 per PC and buy your Windows XP Pro Upgrades through Open Business. Why buy the Retail Box Upgrade and spend more money? (Plus have to track the paper upgrade license for proof of ownership vs. having an electronic upgrade license that is tracked for you through Open Business)

    3) Now, if you do factor in the Windows XP Pro Rebate mentioned in my earlier post (, this drops the per PC price to $168 per PC, which saves you $31 per PC AND adds the three years of upgrade protection in addition to upgrading your current PC to Windows XP Pro plus any additional Software Assurance benefits you may qualify for ( Again I’ll ask, where is the rip-off? $31 less per PC to upgrade to Windows XP Pro, plus you get three years of upgrade protection (and to play devil’s advocate, even if there were no new desktop O/S released in the next three years, you still saved $31 per PC for the Windows XP Pro upgrade itself), plus you get three years of SA benefits, plus you get an electronic upgrade license instead of paper, etc.

    Please point out the “marketing BS” in that. It costs less, it gets you more, and it protects your license for you. Very straight-forward, no fluff, no BS. I think someone may have led you astray in what you thought Open License is and hopefully this helps clear up any misconceptions. You do not have to purchase Software Assurance in order to purchase through Open Business. You can buy the license only and you should instead of buying the license only through Retail Boxed software.
  • Not to mention .. I have XP pro on eopen license that I had back as of 4/30/2003 [when 2k3 server shipped so I had grandfathered TScals. All I had to do was go to my sbs server, enter the license agreement and crawling on the floor with a magnifying glass reading product key codes off the stickers on the Dell machines... easy!
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