Microsoft Licensing Tool Revamped for Partners

DENVER -- Microsoft this week launched a tool at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference to help partners walk their customers through licensing options.

Called LicenseWise, the tool provides a partner interface for the customer-focused Microsoft Product License Advisor.

"LicenseWise leverages the Microsoft Product License Advisor technology and imports customer reports directly into Microsoft LicenseWise, which can also help partners increase sales opportunities," says Mike Oldham, general manager of Microsoft's worldwide licensing and pricing.

Partners can also customize the tool, which is found on the Microsoft Partner Portal, to build their products and services into the tool. "It's a one-stop shop for customers and saves partners time by combining Microsoft product, licensing, pricing and partners' services into one single quote."

Microsoft introduced the MPLA in 2005, primarily for IT customers. According to Oldham, IT pros have generated more than 250,000 reports in 65 countries and 21 languages. When the tool was launched, Microsoft pitched MPLA to partners to help in engagements, but LicenseWise represents the first version of the tool designed primarily with partners in mind.

The tool comes out the same week that a Forrester Research report suggested Software Assurance sales could be an uphill slog for Microsoft and its partners this year. (See related story.)

Meanwhile, Oldham says Microsoft's Licensing Solutions competency is experiencing strong growth. The program had 850 certified partners as of June, and Microsoft hopes to build the competency to 1,500 partners by the end of 2008.

About the Author

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