How to Determine What Microsoft Licenses You Need

Microsoft Open Licensing gives charity, academic, corporate, and government organizations the option to initially buy a small number of software licenses, then scale up their purchase as their organization grows and changes in its business needs. It is particularly well-suited for small and medium businesses looking for a simple and convenient way to acquire licenses for Microsoft products.

When it comes to buying an open license, there are a few things you need to consider. These include:

1. Product Category

Microsoft’s software and services generally fall into one of three categories:

• Applications – These include Microsoft Office suites, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Vision, as well as developer tools and utilities such as Visual Studio
• Systems – These are the typical Microsoft desktop PC operating system software programs, such as Windows. They generally come preinstalled on new computers.
• Servers – Includes Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server

The licensing requirements will vary, depending on which of the three product categories you’re interested in licensing.

2. Minimum Initial Purchase

Microsoft’s Open License requires that organizations purchase at least five licenses, usually with the option for Software Assurance. Customers who are renewing are allowed to create an Open License Agreement for five licenses, and reorder until two years after the date the authorization number was created.

This minimum requirement isn’t a big problem for most organizations, but self-employed individuals should look for other options if they cannot make use of five licenses.

3. Pricing

There is only one standard price when purchasing the minimum five licenses, but some organizations may qualify for a discount if they make large up-front purchases. The volume option in Microsoft Open License allows these high-volume customers to get a discount on their licenses if they purchase 500 licenses or more in a single product category.

4. Agreement Term Length

The two-year agreement term on Open License Agreements is non-renewable according to and at the end of the period, you must sign another Open License Agreement. Usually, a new agreement is opened automatically if your order does not reference an existing authorization number.

You can track compliance, manage your license orders and purchase history, receive order confirmations, and manage other aspects of software licenses electronically via VLSC.