Microsoft Simplifies Volume Licensing Documentation

In an effort to reduce the pain users face in combing through Licensing 6.0 documentation, Microsoft this week previewed a change coming in July to its massive Product Use Rights document.

The Product Use Rights document, or PUR, describes the different volume licensing models for various products, describing such things as per-processor licensing for SQL Server or CAL licensing for Windows Rights Management Services.

As Microsoft's catalog of enterprise products has grown ever longer, so too has the PUR. The PUR contained licensing models in 2002 for 40 products, already making it a rather unwieldy document. By the end of 2004, licensing models for 70 products were defined in the PUR. "What we found was, as we added each product, the use rights were over 100 pages," said Sunny Charlebois, product manager, for Microsoft Worldwide Licensing and Pricing.

On Wednesday, during its quarterly volume licensing update, Microsoft announced plans to group the 70 products into nine general categories to make the licensing document easier for users to navigate.

When the PUR is updated in July, all the products will be included in one of nine categories. They are specialty servers, per process servers, management servers, server/CAL, server OS, desktop OS, desktop apps, developer tools and online services.

Licensing terms and use rights will remain the same. Products that have very specific exceptions will be listed as footnotes within the broader category.

"[The products] fit pretty nicely into the categories," Charlebois said. "Underneath, you may have some product specific variances. As we move forward, we'll try to minimize those."

Microsoft also is editing the licensing descriptions to make them better targeted for IT audiences rather than lawyers.

In the big picture of Microsoft licensing, Charlebois characterized the changes as a middle step. "We do recognize it's definitely a journey. These are small steps for us. We know we have more work to do," she said.

Microsoft's new product licensing categories

Specialty Servers
Windows Web Server, Microsoft Business Network Server, Virtual Server

Per Proc Servers
SQL Server, BizTalk Server, BizTalk accelerators and adaptors, ISA, Speech Server, Content Management Server, Commerce Server, Host Integration Server

Management Servers
Systems Management Server, Microsoft Operations Manager

SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Exchange Server, Project Server, Live Communication Server

Server OS
Windows Server, Terminal Services, Rights Management Services, SharePoint Services, Windows Small Business Server

Desktop OS

Desktop Apps
Office, Visio, Project

Developer Tools
MSDN, Visual Studio, Dev Editions

Online Services
MapPoint Web Services, Office Live Meeting

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.