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Microsoft Open License Basics – What are the different Open License Programs?

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Microsoft Open License Basics – What are the different Open License Programs?

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What are the different Open License Programs, what are the differences, and who are they for?  This is a relatively common set of questions I have seen over the years, and one that you have probably seen addressed in some fashion on the blog over the years in various different posts.  Let me provide a quick overview of that the various programs are, who they are for, and some high-level differences below.  Please note, the Microsoft Open Licensing Programs are designed for companies with between 2 – 250 PCs (with the exception of the Open License Volume Program which spans up to 750 PCs), so if your organization is larger than 250 PCs, you will should also consider the Microsoft Select and Enterprise Agreement licensing programs.

Open Licensing Programs:

  1. Open License – Microsoft Volume Licensing program designed for businesses with between 2 and 250 computers that want to purchase in a very transactional way and prefer to pay-as-you-go.  It offers the option to purchase Licenses, Upgrades (Windows Desktop O/S), License with Software Assurance, and Software Assurance (however, I believe you should utilize Open Value for your Software Assurance purchases, not Open License).  Offers perpetual licenses and is a two year program.  Available through any Microsoft reseller.  See more online.
    • Open License does offer an option called, “Open License Volume” which provides further discounts for large quantity purchases of Microsoft products.
  2. Open Value - Microsoft Volume Licensing program designed for businesses (in regions where available) with between 2 and 250 computers that are looking to take advantage of the various benefits of Microsoft’s Software Assurance offerings (Like Upgrade protection, Home Use Rights, eLearning, etc.), with the ability to make annual payments instead of the up-front payments required by Open License.  It offers the option to purchase Licenses with Software Assurance, Upgrades with Software Assurance (Windows Desktop O/S), and Software Assurance (for adding to qualified licenses).  Offers perpetual licenses and is a three year program.  Available through any Microsoft Reseller.  See more online.
    • Open Value does offer an option called, “Open Value Company-Wide,” which provides further discounts and benefits in exchange for licensing certain Microsoft technologies for all of the computers in your company (such as Microsoft Office or  Microsoft Windows, etc.)
  3. Open Value Subscription - Microsoft Volume Licensing program designed for businesses with between 2 and 250 computers that are looking to take advantage of the various benefits of Microsoft’s Software Assurance offerings (Like Upgrade protection, Home Use Rights, Spread Payments, eLearning, etc.), in addition to the flexibility of subscribing to Microsoft technology instead of purchasing perpetual licenses, which provides lower up-front costs, flexible license counts per year, and more.  It offers the option to subscribe to Licenses with Software Assurance and Upgrades with Software Assurance (Windows Desktop O/S).  Offers non-perpetual licenses and is a three year program.  Available through any Microsoft reseller.  See more online.
  4. Open License for Charities – Microsoft Volume Licensing program designed for eligible charity organizations (in regions where available) that meet certain requirements in order to be able to purchase licenses through Open License for Charities.  Similar program to Open License; however, it offers lower acquisition costs for the included items for qualifying charity organizations.  Available only through Authorized Open License for Charities resellers.  Offers perpetual licenses and is a two year program.  See more online.
  5. Open License for Governments - Microsoft Volume Licensing program similar to the Open License program, but with different pricing and partner channels. In some regions, government organizations may also participate in the Open Value for Government and Open Value Subscription for Government programs.  Available only through Authorized Open License for Government resellers.  Offers perpetual licenses and is a two year program.  See more online.
  6. Open License for Education - Microsoft Volume Licensing program designed for eligible academic organizations (in regions where available) that meet certain requirements in order to be able to purchase licenses through Open License for Education.  Similar program to Open License; however, it offers lower acquisition costs for the included items for qualifying educational organizations.  Offers perpetual licenses and is a two year program.  Available only through Authorized Open License for Education resellers.  See more online.
    • There are additional licensing options for educational organizations besides Open License for Education, so be sure to look online for some of those additional options.

A document that you may find helpful, in addition to the links I have provided above, is the Microsoft Volume Licensing Reference Guide that you can download.  Hopefully the quick overview above helps give a baseline understanding of the what the various Open License Programs available are and will work as a foundation for further Microsoft Open License Basics posts I will be putting up here on the Blog moving forward.

If you found this post helpful, you may want to view other posts in my Microsoft Open License Basics series.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER clip_image001and RSS clip_image002
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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  • Why are they all called "Open"?

  • @ Rosewood - The naming of the program took place back in 1993 when the first "Microsoft Open License Program (MOLP)" was launched.  Since then, the program has continued to evolve and new iterations, such as Open Value and Open Value Subscription, were introduced.  I was not involved in the naming conversations back in 1992 when it was being developed, so I honestly do not know for sure how they determined the name of the program back then.

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