Microsoft is to streamline and simplify its licensing structure, saving customers up to 40% of their licensing costs.
Joe Matz, the software company's corporate vice-president for worldwide licensing and pricing, said the new scheme would start on 1 October, 2009. The move was to keep pace with customer needs and pave the way for new computing models, he said.
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Matz said the new scheme was based on customer feedback from more than three million customers. "Customers feel the pressure of the economic environment and look for ways to save money on the IT investments they have already made," he said.
Matz said Microsoft will release packaged solutions on 1 October, like the new Microsoft Enrollment for Application Platform. This suite of products includes Microsoft SQL Server database software, Microsoft BizTalk Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft Visual Studio development system and Microsoft Dynamics xRM business software.
Customers will be able to buy this through their enterprise agreement (EA) as an enrolment on a one- or three-year deal. "For customers with a three-year true-up, we provide predictable costs with fixed payments for the term's life. Customers may realise lower ongoing costs for new deployment with price savings of up to 40%," Matz said.
Matz said Microsoft would also change the basis for charging for infrastructure products such as Windows Server, Microsoft System Center server management, and Microsoft Forefront Client Security to a simple, per-processor basis.
Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite would in future be available through an enterprise agreement or campus and school agreement, or customers would be able to subscribe online through a new Microsoft online subscription program, which offered a 12-month licence with flexible payment terms.
With a new services provider license agreement, SPLA Essentials, Microsoft also simplified licence management for firms that resell Microsoft products. Matz said SPLA partners could also now use prior versions of Microsoft licensed software. This would help them move to a hosted business model more easily, using the version of the Microsoft technology that best met their business needs, he said.
"Ultimately, customers will be able to purchase through one agreement and manage their licenses through one platform, instead of managing multiple agreements today," Matz said.