Microsoft Open License program changes

Learn about how we're simplifying licensing through the new commerce experience

Update December 17, 2020

The below changes will also apply to public sector—education, government, and nonprofit—customers. Get the details.

September 30, 2020

At Microsoft, we’re committed to supporting every organization wherever they are in their digital transformation journey. We do this by investing not just in technology but also in the end-to-end customer experience, from acquiring the technology to the support experience. This results in the availability of new offers through the Microsoft new commerce experience and in removing purchasing options that no longer meet customer needs.  

The Microsoft Open License program was created over 20 years ago for small and midsized customers to buy multiple perpetual software licenses at a volume price. Microsoft is taking a significant step to simplify licensing by introducing perpetual software license purchases through the new commerce experience, as part of our Cloud Solution Provider program for partners, with a target availability date of January 2021. Small and midsize customers will benefit from a simplified approach and greater flexibility in how you purchase software licenses in a way that’s easy to understand, that directly improves licensing asset management, and with predictable costs.  

You can continue to renew and purchase new software licenses, Software Assurance, and online services through the Open License program until December 31, 2021. As of January 1, 2022, commercial customers won’t be able to buy new or renew software licenses or online services through the Microsoft Open License program. New license-only purchases should be transacted through partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program. 


Please note: 

  • There are currently no changes to the Open Value or Open Value Subscription programs.  
  • You continue to have full rights and access to all perpetual software licenses acquired through the Open License program.  

Your options for existing and new purchases after January 1, 2022 are outlined below.1 

  • If you’re buying perpetual software licenses only (without Software Assurance) and want to continue doing so: 
    1. Buy perpetual software licenses from qualified partners participating in the Cloud Solution Provider program. These partners also offer guidance if you’re evaluating online services and looking for value-added solutions, and offer the flexibility needed to address your hybrid use needs with both software licenses and cloud offers. Talk to your software reseller to find out if they are a Cloud Solution Provider or find a partner
    2. For alternatives, talk to your current licensing partner.
  • If you have Software Assurance coverage through the Open License program:  
    1. Your Software Assurance term, including benefits, will continue until its expiration, even if the expiration is after December 31, 2021.
    2. The Microsoft Open Value program is recommended for future purchases that include Software Assurance.
    3. The Microsoft Open Value Subscription program doesn’t offer perpetual software licenses but is a lower-cost subscription that gives you rights to use the software during the agreement’s term and also includes Software Assurance.
  • If you have online services through the Open License program:
    1. Any unused online services tokens can still be assigned and used, even after December 31, 2021, provided it occurs within the five-year term of token purchase.
    2. If you want to purchase additional online services subscriptions, you can work with a partner in the Cloud Solution Provider program to purchase online services subscriptions or you can buy additional online services tokens through the Open Value program or Open Value Subscription program or from the Microsoft Store.

With the changes we’re making to the Open License program and the expansion of offers through the new commerce experience, you’ll get a consistent and simplified purchase experience to help you digitally transform your organization at your pace, with greater flexibility in how and where you buy. Talk with your partner about which option is best for your organization.

1If you are an enterprise customer, or you have special terms or requirements to consider, other Microsoft commercial licensing programs may work better for your organization. Talk to your Microsoft account team or your partner to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

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All services, products, and offers in Open License program today will remain available until January 1, 2022. To plan for future purchases, ask the partner you’re currently buying software licenses from about your options. Your partner can help you decide the best steps for you, whether that’s new licenses or online services subscriptions.

Find a Microsoft partner.

You continue to have full rights and access to all perpetual software licenses acquired through the Open License program.  

  • Software Assurance coverage remains active until its expiration. You can make new purchases of licenses with Software Assurance through the Open Value or Open Value Subscription programs. 
  • Online services subscriptions purchased using tokens, if unused, stay active for five years from the purchase date. You can get new online services through the Open Value or Open Value Subscription programs if you want to continue purchasing with tokens.  
    • If you've used all of your existing online services tokens, we recommend getting new online services subscriptions (without the need to use tokens) through a partner in the Cloud Solution Provider program, or from the Microsoft Store.

Yes, this applies to academic, commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations. Software licenses will be available through a Cloud Solution Provider partner for commercial organizations in January 2021, and for public sector organizations in July 2021. See this announcement for details on changes for public sector customers.

Ask the partner that you’re currently buying software licenses from if they sell as part of the Cloud Solution Provider program. If they aren’t or have no plans to become a Cloud Solution Provider partner, you can find a Microsoft partner.

Information about how to enroll and get started in the Cloud Solution Provider program is on the Microsoft partner website.

 

For partners, also see this blog post referring to the expanding opportunities for partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program.

Please contact your current licensing partner and they will be able to help you through this change.