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Microsoft Ships Updated Licensing Tools

Microsoft announced this week that it is shipping updated tools meant to aid users in evaluating a myriad of software licensing options.

The company said it has enhanced its suite of customer tools by adding more features to the Microsoft Product Licensing Advisor (MPLA), the Forrester Software Assurance ROI Tool and broadening its Microsoft License Statement (MLS) to new customers.

“With the release of several key new products, like Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System, we saw an opportunity to enrich our tools even further and make it simpler for people to research, budget and purchase these new products to quickly implement these solutions once their purchasing decisions have been made,” said Joe Matz, vice president of Microsoft's worldwide licensing and pricing group, in a statement.

Introduced in 2005, the MPLA provides comparisons of each volume-licensing program and guidance through a series of questions, similar to other online wizards, meant to guide users through a step-by-step process that lets them choose products and solutions based on their unique needs, and then selects the best-fit licensing program.

The program's output includes a downloadable report and estimated retail price quote. It also generates a financing quote from Microsoft Financing. The reports and quotes are provided in either Office Word or Excel formats.

Forrester Research developed the Software Assurance ROI Tool to provide business case analysis to help customers understand the total business value Software Assurance may bring to their organizations, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the MLS provides a software inventory and evaluation tool. With it, customers can see how many purchases they've made from Microsoft through volume licensing and view how many licenses they have for infrastructure, as well as how many upgrades they need to buy.

Volume licensing customers can request Microsoft License Statement from their Microsoft account manager or partner. While it is not broadly available from a global site today, all customers can request and receive a report, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail.

The MPLA is available here and the Forrester ROI Tool is available here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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