Microsoft Delivers Simpler Licensing for Small and Medium-Size Businesses

REDMOND, Wash., April 3, 2000 — To make licensing easier for small and medium-size businesses, Microsoft Corp. has revamped its volume-based Open License program. The increased simplicity of the program enables more small and medium-size businesses to benefit from increased savings by licensing multiple copies of Microsoft® operating systems, applications and server software.

The changes center on the addition of an Open Business option, enabling any company that licenses at least five business software products to save up to 22 percent over full-packaged-product prices. Previously, the Open License program required customers to meet specific product category and quantity levels to secure volume discounts. The new Open Business option makes customers eligible for savings that once were available only to companies with higher-volume purchase levels.

“Microsoft has heard clearly from customers and the channel that saving time and money are key to the licensing experience,”
said Bill Henningsgaard, vice president of Microsoft worldwide licensing and pricing, noting that input from customers and resellers helped guide the changes made to the Open License program.
“Adding the Open Business option to the program not only illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to making licensing easier but also represents a big win for customers and the channel.”

First offered in 1993, the Open License program previously required customers to license a minimum number of products (
) in specific product categories (
) to obtain volume discounts of up to 15 percent over full-packaged-product prices. With the Open Business option, some customers will experience up to 22 percent savings. In addition, customers no longer need to track points and pools; they can combine license purchases across categories to meet the five-product minimum. The increased simplicity enables more small businesses to take advantage of the program’s volume discounts with the purchase of as few as five licenses. In addition to the no-point, no-pools simplicity of the Open Business option, Microsoft has retained its points-based Open Volume option for customers seeking higher-volume purchases and the resultant discounts.

Open License Changes Increase Opportunities for Resellers

With nearly 8 million small and medium-size businesses in the United States, the number of customers eligible for the Open License program provides a rich market for value added resellers (VARs) that currently offer, or wish to offer, licensing services.

“Being able to offer my customers a simple, straightforward way to get these volume discounts is a value proposition for both my customers and my business,”
said Bill Walker, owner of Service SolutionS, a VAR in Davenport, Iowa.
“Many small businesses that like the simplicity of buying packaged software off the shelf either don’t know they could save money through the Open License program or haven’t wanted to calculate points and pools. Now it’s easy; even some of my very small customers can take advantage of very simple licensing and lock in those low prices.”

Making It Easier

Open License is one of three volume-licensing programs Microsoft offers to businesses. The Microsoft Select agreement allows medium-size and large enterprises to obtain volume discounts based on predicted software licensing, and the Enterprise agreement serves medium-size and large businesses that standardize on the Microsoft platform throughout their organization. The modifications to the Open License program are part of an ongoing effort by Microsoft to enhance the simplicity and flexibility of its volume-licensing programs worldwide.

“The changes we have made to simplify our licensing programs represent a small but important step in our evolution toward easier, more flexible licensing programs,”
Henningsgaard said.
“We know that these changes aren’t going to address all the challenges inherent in licensing, but the new Open Business option is a great step in the right direction toward making it all easier and more valuable for small and medium-size businesses.”

For more information about the Open License program, customers and resellers can visit the Microsoft Web site at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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