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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I run a small it shop with roughly 60 PCs currently. We add about 5 to 10 new employees annually. Up to this point, when it comes to software for the Desktop/Laptops of my users, we have purchased through the PC manufacture OEM versions of Office and OS. We are considering a going to route of the Microsoft Open Value Company Wide. We have put all our numbers in spread sheets and at this point over 5 years it looks like the Open Value path would be about 20k more than continuing down the path we are currently on. I need to justify spending the extra 20k so my question is what benefits, other than the single product key and rights to upgrades, are there to going with an Open Value License agreement?

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marked as duplicate by Skyhawk, Shane Madden, Ward, sysadmin1138 Nov 13 '11 at 22:14

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Benefits of OV:

  1. Software Assurance, i.e. the right (but not obligation) to install later versions of the same product at no additional expense. IMHO this is a big benefit, as it both saves money, and enables standardization.
  2. Standardization. With a company-wide Open Value program you can keep every workstation at the exact same software versions, and enjoy simpler administration, simpler security patching and less user training.
  3. Less hassle. OEM licenses are tied to the individual machine, Open Value licenses are not. Thus if the PC dies, you'll have to purchase a new OEM license, with OV you just install your existing license on a new PC.
  4. Better availability of software under the license. We buy Visual Studio & MSDN subscriptions over OV, to the best of my knowledge these do not exist in OEM licensed versions. This is just one example, I would imagine that the same holds true for many server products.

Also remember, you can mix and match licenses. There is ny problem in using OEM licenses for the operating system, and OV for the (Office) productivity apps; in fact many companies do.

Original poster said OEM licenses would save 20,000 USD over 5 years. Another perspective is what is 4.000 USD/year to a growth company with ~60 employees?

Labor costs often dominate in busines, how much time does the sysadmin spend on administrating OEM licenses, and what is the cost of this? Would the company be more agile with a OV license, would the workflow of setting up new PCs be simplified and faster?

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Is that with or without software assurance? Last time I ran the numbers SA added about 15-20% to the total at the Open Select level so I'll bet it adds a bit more percentage on the lower levels.

I would compare the numbers with SA and without - i'll bet you without SA it comes damn close to where you are now. Also you need to factor in the Windows Domain CALs - they don't come with an XP Pro license. And Exchange Cals if you use Exchange. Then you need to look at your upgrade cycle and decide if you think that upgrading inside the SA time frame would happen. Also you should know if you are currently XP/2003 shop you are buying a Vista/2k8 license with downgrade rights so that upgrade you won't need SA for.

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Probably not. Took a trawl through the website and it looks like a bunch of additional meaningless marketing.

However, contact a Microsoft rep. After they just posted a horrible earnings report for the past year, they might be willing to cut you a deal in some other way. Back when I was in the M$ world, I managed to lever a $300 Microsoft Partner Program Action Pack into a whole bunch more licenses for the keys included in our action pack just by talking to the Microsoft rep and asking for a good deal.

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I question why anyone would purchase OEM Microsoft Office or OEM Windows Server. When you replace equipment you are forced to "re-buy" those licenses. The "savings" of going OEM over Open Business doesn't seem to be worth it at all when you factor in this "re-buying" expense.

From my experience with most Customers using a 3 year PC / server replacement cycle you can typically get use of an Open Business license "set" for Microsoft Office on two PCs (over 3 - 6 years). Likewise, I have Customers today who, had they purchased Open Business licenses for their Windows Server OS when they bought server computers in 2003, would be running that same license of Windows Server 2003 on the server computer that replaced that orignal machine (in 2006) and in some cases on the machine that replaces the 2006-era machine today (for those Customers who don't need / desire Windows Server 2008 yet).

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A few things, off the top of my head:

First, there are Open licenses that aren't Company-Wide. Company-Wide is $20k to not have to track individual licenses. That's a big $20k when a good VAR will take care of that for you. I've found that the Open Business licensing gets me prices

The second thing is that those OEM licenses are a waste of money if you think you're being legit by buying them. You're not an OEM, so if you get audited those licenses won't be worth anything. So compare the Open Value or Open Business license prices with the right licenses for your situation and I think you'll find they come in at a slight (but only slight) savings.

For me, most of the value of MS Open licensing is that I don't have to deal with buying boxed copies -- I can call up CDW or whoever and say "I need five more Office 2007" and I get an email shortly thereafter with the license agreement, which MS's eOpen website turns into license keys. (It's even easier for the products that don't use keys for the volume licensed versions; those I don't even have to coordinate buying and installing.)

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OEM licenses are perfectly "legit". The poster indicates that he was purchasing computers from a manufacturer who provided OEM licenses. – Evan Anderson Jul 24 '09 at 11:54

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