In addition to the, “If software assurance expires on SBS 2003, will the client lose the right to Cold Backup for Disaster Recovery?” question that was posed by a Partner yesterday, another one that was asked was, “If Software Assurance expires on SBS 2003, will the client lose the right to install SBS 2003 on new hardware after SA expiration?” In other words, will the client lose their transfer rights if the Software Assurance expires?

One thing that is important to keep in mind is the difference between a license right (something you are granted the rights to through your software license) and a Software Assurance benefit. License rights are things you have rights to for as long as you own your license, regardless of if you have Software Assurance or not. Software Assurance benefits are rights you have access to for as long as you have active Software Assurance coverage on your licenses.

Some examples of license rights are:

The type of license you buy (OEM, Retail Box/FPP, or Volume Licensing) determines which licensing rights you have. You can see an example of the differences in the following posts:

Some examples of Software Assurance benefits are:

To see a chart of Software Assurance benefits and which Volume Licensing programs provide which ones, you can download the Benefits Comparison Chart from the Microsoft Software Assurance website. I also have some posts from earlier on activating Software Assurance benefits:

So back to the question on the table from the Partner, “If Software Assurance expires on SBS 2003, will the client lose the right to install SBS 2003 on new hardware after SA expiration?” The answer is, “No, because transfer rights are a licensing right, not a Software Assurance benefit.” Now here is why I believe the question was asked in reference to Software Assurance though…

Remember that if your clients purchase qualifying OEM Windows, OEM Office, or OEM Server licenses, they can add Software Assurance to them within 90 days to get Volume Licensing rights for those products (except electronic license protection since they will still have to keep track of all of their OEM proof of license components) as well as the Software Assurance benefits. I posted a chart showing this earlier on the Blog if you would like to take a look. One of those licensing benefits that does get added to OEM server licenses if you do add Software Assurance to them within the 90 days is Transfer Rights. Here is a short video showing the advantages of adding Software Assurance to OEM server licenses with the first 90 days:


As such, I believe the question really being asked here is, “If I add Software Assurance to an OEM Server license within 90 days and then the Software Assurance expires, will the client lose their transfer rights for that Server software after SA expiration?” Again, the answer would be, “No, they will not lose their Transfer Rights because transfer rights are a licensing right, not a Software Assurance benefit.”

I hope this helps answer not only the original question asked by the Partner, but also several other questions around this topic.

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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