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Microsoft Volume Licensing Overview

June 23, 2015 - Stacey Vanden Boogart-Romenesko
Microsoft licensing is notoriously confusing, especially when considering Volume Licensing. Open Value, Open Volume, Open Business, Open License… we've heard them all. Can you tell them apart? Which program is best for you? Let's keep it simple and break it down!

Microsoft Volume Licensing is a cost effective way to acquire Microsoft software. Volume licensing is different from retail boxed software licenses. Retail box licenses are typically sold in a box and contain media (CD-ROM or DVD), users guide, and access to product support. Software acquired through Volume Licensing is typically delivered electronically and provides rights to the software only. By eliminating unnecessary materials and packaging, Volume Licensing is typically less expensive than retail. Optional media, documentation, and product support can be purchased separately as needed.

Microsoft offers Volume Licensing programs based on the size of your organization. These programs fall into the following categories:

  • Organizations with 250 or more users or devices
  • Organizations with more than 5 but fewer than 250 users or devices.

We will focus on the second category for the purpose of this blog, as our product offerings and customer base most often fall in this category. Volume license offers programs for these organizations to reduce upfront costs and simplify management. These programs include:

  • Open License: Pay-as-you go plan for customers who want at least 5 software licenses. These licenses are perpetual (you own them), and delivered electronically and managed in your Microsoft account. Volume discounts continue for customers as they purchase more software over the course of a two-year term from the initial purchase of 5 or more licenses. This program offers licensing for both desktop and server operating systems and applications. The Open License program is ideal for organizations that want the flexibility to pay for software licenses as they need them.
    • There are also vertical specific programs within Microsoft's Open Licensing, For example, the Open Business program is designed for small- to mid-sized companies.

  • Open Value: Use and manage perpetual Microsoft products under a single agreement. This program requires a 3-year commitment, and includes software assurance as a fixed benefit. Organization-wide options for PC-based software, as well as non-organization-wide options for servers or a limited number of PCs are available. Server operating systems and applications are also available in the Open Value program. Open Value licenses are perpetual, so you own the rights even after your 3 year agreement period expires. Open Value is ideal for businesses that would like to pay a predictable annual fee for three years to licenses all desktops across their company.

  • Open Value Subscription: Typically offers the lowest upfront cost in flexible annual payments tied to the number of desktop PCs (5 qualified devices minimum). Similar to Open Value, this program offers a single-platform option to standardize desktop PC software across your organization, however Open Value Subscription licenses only grant you rights to the software for the duration of your subscription. Server operating systems and applications are also available in this program. Open Value Subscription is ideal for businesses that would like to minimize their upfront costs when licensing all desktops across their company, but do not care to own the licenses after the subscription period expires.

Additional Benefits of Volume Licensing


Software Assurance:

You have the option to purchase Software Assurance with your Microsoft Volume licenses. Software Assurance is Microsoft's maintenance plan that includes access to new versions that are released during your license agreement term, as well as 24 x 7 support, deployment planning, training vouchers, E-learning, and home use rights.


Downgrade Rights:

Volume Licensing products include downgrade rights, which allow the user to downgrade to a previous version of the software. Downgrade rights are typically available for up to two releases back, and are limited to the same functional editions (for example Office Standard 2013 can downgrade to Office Standard 2010, but not to Office Professional 2010). Downgrade rights can vary by application, so please verify downgrade rights with your account manager if you have questions about a specific product.

How to Buy

Open License Microsoft perpetual license products are available for purchase on directly on our website. If you're interested in learning more about Microsoft Volume Licensing, please call or email our sales team at 1-855-AVENTIS or sales@aventissystems.com and we will work with you to identify the best program for your organization.

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