Microsoft says new licensing bundles will save companies time, money

They're slated to become available Oct. 1

Microsoft Corp. this week announced a pair of enterprise software licensing bundles that one analyst said could save money and time for the company's loyal customers.

Unveiled during the Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans this week, the licensing bundles will become available Oct.1, according to a Q&A posted Tuesday at Microsoft's Web site with Joe Matz, corporate vice-president for worldwide licensing and pricing at Microsoft.

One, called the Enrollment for Application Platform, offers a server software suite -- including SQL Server database, BizTalk Server, Office SharePoint Server, Visual Studio development software and Dynamics CRM -- that can be purchased via a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA).

Paul DeGroot, an analyst with the independent Directions on Microsoft, called the Enrollment for Application Platform "the offspring of the Application Platform Agreement" that Microsoft introduced last year to counter Oracle Inc.'s Unlimited License Agreement, which lets Oracle customers license as many instances of the product as they like.

While the Application Platform Agreement bundle forced customers to commit "to spend quite a bit of money," the new Enrollment option is aimed at medium-sized businesses, said DeGroot.

According to Microsoft, customers using the Enrollment for Application Platform can pay for the software over one or three years. "Customers may realize lower ongoing costs for new deployment with price savings of up to 40 per cent," said Matz.

DeGroot, who had not been briefed on these new licenses, wasn't sure how Microsoft calculated the savings. But he felt that "overall, it could be a good option for mid-market customers who have EAs," he said. "They may not buy enough servers to get a good discount in Select [license]. The discounts in this Enrollment could be better."

The second bundle, called the Enrollment for Core Infrastructure, bundles Windows Server, System Center management software and Forefront Client Security software.

Customers buying this software separately would have had to use "a combination of licensing models including per server, per processor, per Operating System Environment and subscription," said Matz. "With the Enrollment for Core Infrastructure, this is all accomplished using a simple, per-processor basis."

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