Open Value Subscription
Microsoft is offering potentially large discounts to customers who purchase time-limited software subscriptions, as opposed to the perpetual licenses that come with boxed software and other Microsoft purchasing programs.
Here's the difference: When the subscription ends, so does your company's license to use the software (although a buy-out option may be available). With a perpetual license, you can use your software theoretically forever.
Open Value Subscription the same offers benefits as Open Value, but in a subscription license. Customers see lower up-front costs with a subscription, and have flexibility to 'true-down' or pay for fewer desktops if they've seen reductions when they reach their anneversary.
Through June 30, Microsoft is running a promotion called the "Up-to-Date Discount," which allows customers to receive as much as a 50 percent off on their purchases by giving them credit for software they already own.
Microsoft is also offering financing to small business customers. Qualifying customers can receive 36-month loans for solutions that include Microsoft software and cost as little as $3,000, Sharpe added.
Considered controversial by some business customers, Microsoft's Software Assurance program charges an annual premium of up to 29 percent of the value of the customer's Microsoft software purchases. In return, customers get the right to upgrade their software at no additional charge during the term of the agreement.
Companies that want to keep their software current can find Software Assurance a convenient way to upgrade without having to purchase expensive new software all at once. On the other hand, if Microsoft doesn't do a major upgrade every three or four years, the program could turn out to be too costly.
Here are some of the benefits of Software Assurance:
Windows 7 Enterprise is only available to Software Assurance customers, and while some of the features are targeted at large organizations, it brings key security features such as BitLocker, BitLocker To Go and AppLocker that offer benefits for organizations of any size. Learn more from Microsoft about Windows 7 Enterprise features.
Microsoft's Home Use Program offers copies of Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 Enterprise for $9.95 to the employees of SA-member companies for their employees to use at home. Other products are also available.
The Home Use Program supports telecommuting and other flexible work options. Once the benefit is activated, companies provide the program code to eligible employees and they can order directly from the Home Use Program website.
E-learning programs are also available through SA, potentially lowering training costs and increasing employee efficiency.
With Spread Payments, small businesses can spread their total licensing costs (licenses plus SA) into 3 equal annual payments with no additional fees or interest charges, providing a predictable way to license Microsoft software.
Software Assurance customers also have access to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, a collection of IT-oriented tools and technologies available as a subscription.