Volume Licensing Comparison

Let’s face it. Microsoft Licensing is a nightmare. Even after the best part of a decade building solutions that incorporate Microsoft products licensing hasn’t got any easier to sort out. Virtualisation and multi-core processors have just made it worse. Microsoft’s October Volume Licensing Product Use Rights document is 123 pages of dense licensing information full of do’s don’ts and gotchas – and that’s just the start. Fancy some bedtime reading? Didn’t think so. You need know that your IT solutions partner understands this licensing minefield when providing IT solutions or you could be in for a nasty surprise when the inspectors come knocking.

Not for legality, but for value and price reasons we decided to do our own comparison of Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs for a favourite client of ours to make sure they received the best licensing solution possible. We knew a Volume License with Software Assurance was the way to go, and we thought that the Open Value Subscription option would work out most cost-effective but we had to see if with our own eyes, in our own spreadsheet.

For the purposes of comparison we used mid-November pricing from a major UK Microsoft distributor for the four main Volume Licencing Programs. The scenario was a fictitious, commercial client with 5 computers wishing to standardise on Windows 8 Enterprise and Office 2013 Professional Plus. This is what we found:

Basically, we were right. It’s cheaper for the first year, and only then pipped in further years by the similar Open Value Company Wide agreement. When you consider that an Open Value Subscription is also a rental (OpEx) rather than a traditional purchase (CapEx) your business get full tax relief on the license costs. If this was factored in, I’m sure it would work out better value indefinitely.

Are you confident your Microsoft products are licensed properly? Do you have different Windows and Office versions on each of your PCs? Fed up with incompatibilities and general licencing chaos? If you are, I’m our resident licensing expert at Wessex Networks and I’d be happy to negotiate the minefield with you – just drop me a line.

Posted by Richard Maynard,