In this feature, Microsoft Practice Director, Gerry Kerr, discusses the changes being made to the Microsoft Open Licencing Programme and how businesses will need to change how they purchase their software licences going forward.
What is the Microsoft Open Licencing Programme?
The Microsoft Open Licencing Programme has been around pretty much unchanged for 20 years and has served a range of customers very well with a wide range of options available to suit most needs. The programme has remained largely unchanged well into this new cloud-centric world where we now find ourselves.
Open Licence Programme currently offers a few different paths to buy licences:
- Open licences – with or without software assurance
- Open Value – spread payments over 3 years
- Open Value subscription – rental agreement
There are other programmes aimed at larger organisations – such as MPSA and Enterprise agreements.
The launch of the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme a couple of years ago, however, dramatically changed the primary method of buying cloud services for most small and medium companies.
Microsoft then started to offer selected on-premises licences such as Windows Server Standard, SQL server and more recently, Windows 7 extended security updates via CSP.
Microsoft is now planning additional changes to its licencing programme. The changes come into effect on January 1st 2022, but the new paths are available from January 2021.
What are the changes coming in 2022?
The changes coming in 2022 affect the Open Programme and only the Open Licence programme.
From January 2022, it will not be possible to buy new open licences via a traditional Open licence agreement.
The purpose of these changes is to allow customers to have a single, consistent experience when they purchase licences – whether their data is in the cloud or on-premises.
It should be stressed however that this will not affect your ownership of existing licences or any rights that flow from existing agreements.
Who will these changes affect?
For the moment, these changes will only affect commercial agreements – education, academic and government agreements are not changing.
What are my options?
At this point your only options to buy new licences will be via one of the following paths:
- Perpetual licence purchase without software assurance – the only mechanism to buy a perpetual licence will be from the CSP programme.
- Perpetual licence with software assurance – the Open Value Licence programme can be used to buy licences with software assurance.
- Subscription licences with software assurance – these can be bought via an OVS agreement or via CSP. Both have limitations and Evros can help you choose the best option for your particular needs.
Online services will continue to be available via open value or CSP. The CSP platform offers very flexible licensing options and is the platform of choice for most customers.
What do I need to do?
For the moment, customer do not need to take any action. All licences, benefits and rights will continue to be available for all software purchased through the Open Programme and customers can continue until December 2021 to purchase via traditional channels.
However, Microsoft is making the new licensing options available from January 2021 so customers can transition early if they wish.
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We can help you answer any questions you have around licensing as well as give you the information you need to decide the right route for your business.