Microsoft has often been knocked for the complexity of its software licensing programs. (Six versions of Vista, for Pete's sake.)
But now in a nod to the needs of SMBs, Microsoft is introducing the Open Value Subscription program, which will offer upfront discounts for software and also allow customers to modify pricing over the three-year subscription period if their business needs change. The result, according to InfoWorld, is that the license-only cost of software should fall by two-thirds.
Geared toward businesses with 50 or fewer employees, the program will include Microsoft Office Small Business, Office Professional +, Windows Vista Business Upgrade, Small Business Server Client Access License (CAL), Core CAL, Desktop Professional Suite and Small Business Desktop Suite. Also included is the Software Assurance maintenance and support plan, which has been less-than-popular with Microsoft's larger customers.
Microsoft is also introducing a program called "Big Easy," which offers subsidies to SMBs that purchase products through its partners. Some of its most popular products, including Microsoft Office, Exchange Server and SharePoint Server, are eligible for the subsidies. According to InfoWorld, SMBs can expect an average 15 percent to 17 percent return on purchases made through Big Easy.