Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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Is Software Assurance an optional item or something automatically included in the licenses themselves?

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Is Software Assurance an optional item or something automatically included in the licenses themselves?

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I received the following question after my “Preview and Sneak Peek of the new Small Business Desktop Advantage and Volume Licensing Sales Kit” Live Meeting session that I thought I would post here along with the answer in case others out there may have the same or similar question.  Here was the question:

“It has been my (mis)-understanding that a customer who wants Software Assurance (SA) pays for it in association with the software license itself, but does not have to pay extra for SA enabled CALS. From your presentation materials it is obvious that SA IS an optional component of the CAL for which the customer must pay an extra fee.”

When you initially purchase software through Volume Licensing, you have two options depending on what you want:

1)     (L) which is a License to run the software.

2)     (L+SA) which is a License to run the software + Software Assurance benefits

Which option you should purchase depends on if you want Software Assurance benefits or not.  If you do not want Software Assurance benefits and coverage, then you would purchase the (L) only through the Open Business Volume Licensing Program.  If you do want Software Assurance benefits and coverage, then you would purchase the (L+SA) through the Open Value Licensing Program.  NOTE: Yes, L+SA is available through the Open Business Licensing Program as well; however, you really should be purchasing your Software Assurance items through Open Value instead to avoid things like “Short SA” problems and because you get more Software Assurance benefits through Open Value than Open Business and they have the same annual cost.  I walk through the differences and why you should only purchase Software Assurance through Open Value in the “Introduction to Open License for Partners” Live Meeting I gave in June.

So yes, Software Assurance is an option.  Software Assurance is always included when you purchase through the Open Value Licensing Program since you can only purchase (L+SA) or (SA) through Open Value.  Open Business provides the option to purchase (L) only for those items you do not want Software Assurance for.

The third licensing option you have is as an add-on or renewal.  This is:

3)     (SA) which is Software Assurance only. 

This is used to:

A)    Renew your Software Assurance benefits when they expire (For those of you that received the Small Business Desktop Advantage and Volume Licensing Sales Kit, if you view or listen to the, “What Happens After the 3 Year Open Value Term” items (Video, MP3, or WMA) in the Multimedia section of the DVD, I explain how this works)

B)    Add Software Assurance benefits to your OEM Windows, Server, or Office licenses within 90 days of the OEM license purchase.  (For those of you that received the Small Business Desktop Advantage and Volume Licensing Sales Kit, if you view or listen to the, “Adding Software Assurance to OEM Servers” items (Video, MP3, or WMA) in the Multimedia section of the DVD, I explain how this works) or you can view it online and I have provided those details in my earlier Blog posts:

a.     OEM Microsoft Server software. New short video answers top questions about adding Software Assurance

b.    Adding Software Assurance to your OEM Office licenses. What you need to know…

So the direct answer to your question is, “Yes, if your client wants Software Assurance for their CALs, they would purchase the (L+SA) when purchasing their CALs.  If they do not want Software Assurance, they would purchase the (L) only.  It all depends on if your client wants Software Assurance benefits and coverage or not.

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

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