A short while after sitting down in the bar, the bartender walks over, places a drink down in front of the brunette and says that it is compliments of a stranger at the other end of the bar. A short while later, the bartender returns with a drink for the redhead and says that it is compliments of a different stranger in the bar. Right after that, the bartender returns again, this time with a drink for the blonde, once again stating it is front yet another stranger in the bar.

After enjoying their drinks and talking amongst themselves about how nice it was that each of them had received complimentary drinks from three different strangers within the bar, the bartender returns one more time. This time, the bartender puts a drink down in front of each of them and tells them that all three drinks are compliments of one other stranger in the bar. With a smile, they raise their glasses in a toast to the kind stranger, then enjoy their drinks, thinking how nice it is to be this attractive to so many.

So how is this in any way related to Microsoft or technology? Well, it actually answers two of the questions I received a few times while giving my presentations over the past few weeks pretty nicely, and if nothing else, the example alone should help you remember these answers:

1) Now that we have introduced Open Value Subscription, which includes unique benefits like the 50% off Up-to-date discount and the ability to “get it and forget it” for each of the Enterprise products, why do we keep Open License and/or Open Value? Why not just eliminate one or more of them and make it simpler?

Well, just like in the beginning of the bar example above, not everyone prefers blondes, nor does everyone prefer brunettes, nor does everyone prefer redheads. Everyone is different and each has their preference. Same applies to the way people like to acquire their technology. Some like to acquire their licenses without Software Assurance on a perpetual basis (Open License). Some like to acquire their licenses with Software Assurance on a perpetual basis (Open Value). Some like to acquire their licenses with Software Assurance on a subscription basis (Open Value Subscription). By having all three, companies can choose the model they are most attracted to based on the benefits they perceive them bringing to their businesses. (I’ll leave it to you to choose which program is the blonde, the brunette, and the redhead in your example).

2) If a company wants to purchase some of their licenses on a subscription basis through Open Value Subscription (for instance, Office) but they want to purchase licenses on a perpetual basis with Software Assurance for other items in their company (for instance, Windows Server), and they also want to purchase some licenses on a perpetual basis without Software Assurance (for instance, Publisher), can they mix and match the programs inside their company?

Here’s where the second paragraph in the bar example comes into play. While some people do prefer blondes and others prefer brunettes and still others prefer redheads, there are some people who are attracted to different qualities of each and aren’t exclusive to any one of the three (our stranger who bought a drink for all three of them). In the same way, companies can absolutely mix and match the Microsoft Volume Licensing programs inside their businesses. So, in the example posed in question #2 above, the company wants to take advantage of all of the benefits of Open Value Subscription for their Microsoft Office software on a subscription basis; however, they want to own their Windows Server licenses on a perpetual basis with Software Assurance and they want Microsoft Publisher for a handful of their PCs without Software Assurance. Then this company could absolutely order their Microsoft Office licenses through the Open Value Subscription Program, their Microsoft Windows Server licenses through the Open Value Program, and their Microsoft Publisher licenses through the Open License Program. It is perfectly fine to mix and match the programs within the company if you find features of each attractive to your business.

Please note, in my bar example above, never once was it mentioned whether the blonde, the brunette, the redhead, the bartender, or any of the strangers were male or female. So, just like the Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs are available to everyone, you can view the above bar example in any way you choose that makes it most relevant and meaningful to you.

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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