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What is Open Licensing? Understanding Microsoft volume purchases

Open License If your business computing needs go beyond just a couple computers, then chances are that you are going to need a well-structured (and properly licensed) IT infrastructure. Microsoft has put together a software licensing model designed specifically for organizations with 5-250 users: Microsoft Open Licensing.
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The Microsoft Open License program is a good choice for any organization that wants a simple, cost-effective way to acquire Microsoft technology, without paying more than is necessary. This is particularly beneficial to non-profit organizations, education centers, government departments, etc. It ensures that your computers are running the latest Microsoft operating systems and productivity software at a fraction of what it would cost under normal circumstances.

A Microsoft Open License agreement is valid for a period of 2 years. It requires a minimum initial purchase of five software licenses, with the option of adding more licensed products at any time. Services like Office 365 do not have a minimum order requirement. Software Assurance can be purchased at any time. If they are not purchased at the same time as the licenses, it would be best to acquire them as a separate purchase to maximize the benefit period. Otherwise, they would expire when your licenses expire.

Retail License
OEM (Original Manufacturer)
Open License
Online (365)
Full Use of Software
Local/ Online Store
Authorized Reseller
Install Limit
1-5 Devices (Online)
Transfer Rights
Downgrade Rights
Student/Gov pricing
Software Assurance

The biggest advantages of Microsoft Open Licensing program are flexibility, cost-effectiveness and the way each one affects the other. It allows you to grow your IT infrastructure as the organization grows. No need for costly financial outlays for users that don’t exist. It eliminates the need to use precious resources buying software on the hope of a bigger staff complement. At the same time, when the organization does grow, adding more users is a simple matter of adding more licenses.

Another great benefit of Microsoft Open Licensing is that the license is user-based. This means that it is pinned to a single user rather than being assigned to a specific device. This works particularly well for organization that have more devices than users or allow users to access the organization servers from mobile devices, home computers, etc. It’s more feasible to license a single user rather than the multiple devices he/she uses.

Microsoft Open Licensing also makes for hassle-free licensing management. One agreement will cover an entire organization. No need to manage different licenses, expiry dates or operational conditions.  The organization is considered compliant for the duration of the agreement period, which is one less thing to worry about.


Microsoft helps to manage Open Licenses with their Volume Licencing Center


Available Licenses, downgrades and downloads are stored with access keys.

Unlike Retail and OEM licenses, Microsoft Open Licensing includes Downgrade Rights. This is simply the ability to use a previous version of a product rather than the current version. But why would anyone pay for a product and then downgrade? Well, it is usually a matter of software compatibility issues. But it is open to other reasons too. Perhaps a user is more productive with an older version’s layout, for example. When a product is no longer needed in its downgraded state, it can be upgraded to the newer version at no additional cost.

Budgeting for software costs also becomes easier with Microsoft Open Licensing. Since all software under the agreement is already covered, the invoicing is pretty much predictable. In fact, the only foreseeable increase in costs would come from adding new users or products. Both are obvious and upfront costs so either way, there are no surprises.

If your organization needs more than a home computer, then Microsoft Open Licensing is the way to go. But it can get somewhat confusing to assess what your actual needs are. So, it is highly recommended that you contact a reputable Microsoft Reseller like MyChoiceSoftware. They can advise on what products you need to be completely covered in the most efficient way possible.

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