One of the questions that has been asked since the introduction of the Small Business Platform License is if Microsoft’s Small Business Server comes with 5 Client Access Licenses (CAL) and the Small Business Platform License is a Company-wide Agreement and has a Small Business Server CAL included, doesn’t this mean I am double-buying my SBS CALs? 

 

First, let’s address a few add-on questions that usually come out during this conversation right up-front so we are all on the same page:

 

1) No, Microsoft Small Business Server licenses are not available by themselves without 5 Client Access Licenses included.

 

2) Yes, the Microsoft Small Business Platform License (Part #B6K-00052 if using Open Value spread payments or Part #B6K-00050 if using Microsoft Financing for spread payments) is a Company-wide Agreement which means that you must purchase one Small Business Platform License for every PC in the company (Minimum # of 5).  You cannot buy it for some PCs and not for others.

 

3) The Microsoft Small Business Platform License includes all of the following, even though it is a single part #: an Office Small Business Edition License + 3 years of Software Assurance benefits, a Small Business Server Client Access License + 3 years of Software Assurance benefits, and a Windows XP Professional Upgrade + 3 years of Software Assurance benefits.

 

Now that we have those points established, let’s get back to the original question of if you are double-buying your Small Business Server CALs with the Small Business Platform License.  Since the Small Business Server License comes with 5 SBS CALs and the Small Business Platform License gives a Small Business Server CAL to every PC in the company, you will have a total of 5 extra Small Business Server CALs in any environment with the Small Business Platform License.  So, does this mean you double-bought your SBS CALs?  Let’s take a look:

 

Since the 5 SBS CALs included with your SBS Server are the only “extra” SBS CALs you will have, the highest # of SBS CALs you could have double-bought would be 5.  So how much did this cost you with the Small Business Platform License?  Let’s do a comparison with a 5 PC network as an example comparing with the Small Business Platform License and without the Small Business Platform license to find out.

 

Example 1:  Let’s say you have 5 PCs and already have an SBS Server with the 5 SBS CALs.  Because you already have the SBS CALs on each of the 5 PCs from the SBS Server license, you would only need to purchase the Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA and the Office Small Business Edition license + SA to have the same items as the Small Business Platform License (except for the Software Assurance on the SBS CALs which would depend on how you purchased the SBS Server license).  How much would it cost per PC to get these two items?  Let’s say you took advantage of the Company-wide offering for the Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA and the Company-wide offering for the Office Small Business Edition license + SA.  Your costs for these would be:

 

-          Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA Company-wide through Open Value: $248.00 ERP

-          Office Small Business Edition license + SA Company-wide through Open Value: $692.00 ERP

-          Total per PC for these two components: $248.00 + $692.00 = $940.00

 

So the total you would pay to get an Office Small Business Edition license + SA and Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA for these 5 PCs is: $940.00 X 5 = $4,700. 

 

If you chose not to do the component Company-wide options for the Office Small Business Edition license + SA and the Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA, the costs for these would be:

 

-          Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA Company-wide through Open Value: $347.00 ERP

-          Office Small Business Edition license + SA Company-wide through Open Value: $769.00 ERP

-          Total per PC for these two components: $347.00 + $769.00 = $1,016.00

 

So the total you would pay to get an Office Small Business Edition license + SA and Windows XP Pro Upgrade + SA for these 5 PCs is: $1,016.00 X 5 = $5,080. 

 

Now let’s compare this to the Small Business Platform License for this same network.

 

Example 2: Let’s say you have 5 PCs and already have an SBS Server with the 5 SBS CALs; however, you choose to take advantage of the Small Business Platform License to move to a single part # environment for your SBS CALs, Office Small Business Edition licenses, and Windows XP Pro Upgrades with Software Assurance.  Your costs for these would be:

 

-          Small Business Platform License: $922.00 ERP

-          Total per PC for all three components: $922.00 ERP

 

So the total you would pay to get an Office Small Business Edition license, a Windows XP Pro Upgrade, AND an SBS CAL with SA on all three components is: $922.00 X 5 = $4,610.

 

Let’s compare these options for this 5 PC network side by side to see how much extra you spent by “double-buying” those 5 SBS CALs with the Small Business Platform License:

 

-          Buying the Small Business Platform License total: $4,610

-          Buying Office SBE & Windows XP Pro Upgrade with SA Company-wide total: $4,700

-          Buying Office SBE & Windows XP Pro Upgrade with SA non Company-wide total: $5,080

 

This means that by choosing the Small Business Platform License instead of buying the Office SBE and Windows XP Pro Upgrade separately, you actually SAVE $90 over the component company-wide option and you SAVE $470 over the non company-wide option!  So are you really double-buying those CALs if it costs you LESS MONEY to do so?  And here are a couple of other things to think about:

 

1) This example was using a 5 PC network.  What if you had a larger network?  Your per PC cost would increase in the non Small Business Platform License environments above because you would have to spend money for each PC to buy SBS CALs.  How much extra would it cost per PC for the Small Business Platform License environment?  NOTHING because the Small Business Platform License already includes the Small Business Server CAL!  So your per PC savings will save you even MORE by choosing the Small Business Platform License in environments larger than 5 PCs.

 

For example, in a 7 PC environment, you would have to add a 5 SBS CAL pack with SA ($809 ERP in Open Value) to the totals above to add onto the 5 SBS CALs that came with your SBS Server license.  What does this make the per PC costs then?

 

-          The component company-wide option above had a $940 per PC cost, so if we do the math: $940 X 7 = $6,580.  Now add in the SBS 5 CAL + SA pack: $6,580 + $809 = $7,389.  This makes the per PC cost: $7,389/7 PCs = $1,055.57.

-          The non company-wide option above had a $1,016 per PC cost, so if we do the math: $1,016 X 7 = $7,112.  Now add in the SBS 5 CAL + SA pack: $7,112 + $809 = $7,921.  This makes the per PC cost: $7,921/7 PCs = $1,131.57.

-          The Small Business Platform License option above had a $922 per PC cost, so if we do the math: $922 X 7 = $6,454.  This already includes an SBS CAL for each PC so there is nothing else to add in which means the per PC cost remains at $922.

 

Comparing these options for this 7 PC network above, you can see that the Small Business Platform License option saves $935 ($7,389 - $6,454 = $935) over the component company-wide option and it saves $1,467 ($7,921 - $6,454) over the non company-wide option!  Now let’s take this one step further…

 

2) Remember the Office Rebate going on right now that gets you $125 rebate per Small Business Platform License you buy?  This means your per PC cost on the Small Business Platform License right now is really only $797, not $922.  How much would you qualify for if you chose one of the options besides the Small Business Platform License?  NONE!  This means your per PC savings by choosing the Small Business Platform License is an additional $125 per PC above what I calculated out for you above.  So for that 5 PC network above, your savings with the Small Business Platform License would be an additional $625 ($125 X 5 = $625) over what was calculated above and for the 7 PC network, it would be an additional $875 ($125 X 7 = $875) over what was calculated above!  And think about this…  If your client purchases those 7 Small Business Platform Licenses (ERP of $922 each) and Microsoft sends them a rebate check back for $875, that’s like buying 6 Small Business Platform Licenses and getting the 7th for only $47!  ($922 - $875 = $47)

 

So back to the original question of, “Are you double-buying” those initial 5 SBS CALs by choosing the Small Business Platform License?”  Choosing the Small Business Platform License will leave you with 5 extra SBS CALs; however, if it costs less to do this (based on the calculations above), I think it’s more like double-receiving, not double-buying of those 5 SBS CALs that is taking place, which should be good for the client.  I will leave it up to you to decide for yourself though based on the clients you work with.  Is the Small Business Platform License right for everyone?  Nothing is right for everyone; however, as you can see, sometimes something that you think would cost more (“double-buying” SBS CALs) actually saves you money and provides you with much more.

 

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UPDATE:
As of October, 2008, platform options (such as the Small Business Desktop Advantage) are now handled through the “Build Your Own Platform” model.  Here is the post that explains this new option for you.
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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

 

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights