Look at your balance sheet at the end of the day, and the figures will remind you time and time again: even the little purchases add up to a lot. When it comes to essential purchases like software, it's important for small and medium businesses to get the best deal they can find. That's why you need to understand the different kinds of licenses for Microsoft products. By knowing what licensing options are available, you'll always be able to get the best deal for your dollar.
An original start
The software licensing that consumers are most familiar with is the kind that covers a new PC with software already installed. The pre-installed software on a new device is also known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software. If you plan to outfit your office with new PCs, you'll be getting the basic OEM software license for each of them. It's the most convenient way to start out with Genuine Windows software, but it doesn't offer many additional perks.
For buyers looking for an upgrade from pre-installed Windows, Microsoft offers Volume Licensing, a special deal for small and medium businesses.
"Volume" can mean any number below 250 licenses, but more importantly for small startups, it applies to as few as five licenses, too.
Compared with an ordinary OEM license, Volume Licensing provides economical pricing options, freedom to transfer licenses between machines, and better management and control of your software. There are three types of Volume Licensing – Open, Open Value and Open Value Subscription – and we'll go over them in just a moment.
Right Licensing for right pricing
When you choose Volume Licensing for your business, your initial investment might be smaller than you'd expect. First of all, you can enter a new agreement with as few as five software licenses. What's more, there is no minimum purchase if you want to get more licenses under the terms of Volume Licensing – you can include additional licenses in any quantity during the agreement term, even one at a time.
With an Open license, you pay upfront, just like with OEM software. On the other hand, for Open Value and Open Value Subscription, your payments get split up over several years (spread over three years for Open Value, annual payments for Open Value Subscription), which leaves more cash on hand for expanding and supporting your business.
Volume Licensing is also more economical because you have greater flexibility in where you install your software. With OEM, your license is linked to just one place. If you're not planning to upgrade and get a new PC, that's fine, but what if you want more options? That's when you should consider an Open or Open Value license.
With Open and Open Value, you can transfer your licenses, which can be handy if you spin off part of your business or start a new company and want to move one or more Office 365 licenses over to the new organisation. It's also possible to upgrade or downgrade your software to different versions, and if a PC gets corrupted, you'll be able to re-image the computer and restore the software at no extra cost.
There are other benefits of getting software with Volume Licensing, including technical support, training and education. With OEM software, if you want to learn more about how to get the most out of your purchase, you simply refer to the product manual and online help. With Open Value and Open Value Subscription, you'll pay a bit more to get a wealth of additional support. Under these agreements, your business is entitled to training vouchers and e-Learning benefits. You'll also receive Microsoft's technical support, including unlimited web support, TechNet Plus and 24x7 problem resolution support.
With OEM licenses, you need to have a different product key for each license. With Volume Licensing, every license you buy is covered under one product agreement, even for different products such as Windows 8 and Office 365. You will receive a single electronic Volume License Key for your software, and you will have easy access to product downloads and keys through Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center website. This simplifies the task of managing and installing your software.
With Volume Licensing, your business will be fully protected from the risks of incorrect licensing and software piracy. Also, you'll be able to spend less time making sure your software licenses are in order and more time on running your core business. You can find out more at our Volume Licensing page: https://www.microsoft.com/Licensing/
Below you will find the key differences between the 3 licensing options :