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Microsoft Offers Windows, Office Discounts

Offer in effect until June 30, good for upgrades of two prior versions of software.

Microsoft opened the new year with a marketing push designed to help partners wean small to midsize business (SMB) organizations off older Windows and Office products.

The company is offering a 50 percent discount on the first year's subscription price of Windows 7 Professional and Office 2007 Professional software licensing to SMBs. The deal applies to the "open value subscription," or OVS, volume-licensing program. Organizations have to be upgrading from older Professional versions of the operating system and productivity suite to take advantage of the deal.

Eric Ligman, global partner experience lead in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, announced the program in a blog post on Jan. 1. The offer is available until June 30, 2010.

Microsoft describes the deal as a "50 percent Up-to-Date discount," based on "estimated retail prices." However, pricing under the Up-to-Date (UTD) program is typically less than the box price found in retail stores, according to Paul DeGroot, research vice president and channel licensing strategies analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

"Microsoft uses the term, 'estimated retail price,' in volume-licensing programs to mean what I would call 'estimated volume price,' which is discounted from the box purchased from Best Buy, et al.," DeGroot said in an e-mail interview.

Microsoft sweetened the UTD deal by allowing organizations to upgrade from products that are two generations removed. Microsoft describes this deal as "N-2," meaning that the discount is available to users upgrading from products that are two generations older than the current release.

"What's new is the N-2 bit," DeGroot said. "In the past, you only got the discount for a relatively recent copy of the software. Since all of Microsoft's subscription-licensing programs include SA [software assurance], subscriptions give the right to the current (N) version of the software. The UTD applied previously to N and N-1."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.