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What is Microsoft Open License vs Open Value vs Cloud Licensing?


I do not know about you, but I find Microsoft licensing to be confusing.  Here is a summary of Microsoft Open License vs Open Value vs Cloud and other licensing options. Microsoft has three main on-premise license types that are relevant to small business technology procurement  - Volume, OEM and Full Packaged Product.  Within Volume licensing, there are many options, but two are particularly useful for small businesses - Open License and Open Value.  For both types, one must purchase a minimum of 5 licenses.  Finally, there is the Online Subscription which is somewhat difficult to compare directly, but offers a Cloud alternative to on-premise deployments.

Microsoft Open License Vs Open Value resized 600

While this is a substantial oversimplification to Microsoft's extremely complex licensing, it attempts to boil down some of the key trade-offs when considering different options.  One of the main drivers of pricing and license types is Software Assurance.  This provides access to new versions of Microsoft software when they are released, provides training advantages and, for appropriate products, the Home Use Program (HUP) among other things.

What do you think about Microsoft licensing?

Key takeaways:

  • If the strategy is stay on top of Microsoft technology, it is more economical and less up-front to purchase Open Value
  • In order to have the flexibility of imaging or moving licenses, purchase one of the Volume licenses (Open License or Open Value)
  • Cloud offerings add an additional option which may be helpful for certain scenarios where on-premise control is not needed


I find Microsoft licensing deplorable and it represents everything that will ruin the company as the hoarding profit maxing demographic targeting garbage that they produce
Posted @ Wednesday, August 17, 2011 12:31 PM by ITAdmin Boulder
Your frustration is understandable. Where would we be without Microsoft, though? Certainly, they must evolve to satisfy consumers of their offerings. Do you think Office 365 is a step in the right direction?
Posted @ Wednesday, August 17, 2011 12:38 PM by Sean Kline
This post helped me understand the licensing better. Thank you! 
Posted @ Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:29 AM by Bob
How about a comparison that includes Open Value Subscription? I find the estimated pricing really helpful to decide.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 02, 2013 3:33 AM by Ivan
Ivan...I did list Open Value in the table above. So, in the example above, it would be $515.00 for each of the next three years. Of course, prices would be different now for Microsoft Windows Server 2012, but the model is the same. Open Value is a good model for those who want to get the latest version of Microsoft software at all times and want a predictable expense from year to year.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 02, 2013 7:03 AM by Sean Kline are referring, I think, to the difference between Open Value spread payments and subscription. This is outside the scope of this blog article, but your local Microsoft reseller may help you.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 02, 2013 7:25 AM by Sean Kline
Hi Sean, thanks for your clarification.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 02, 2013 11:36 PM by Ivan
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