Now, we’ll freely admit, Software Licensing is not the sort of topic you’d spend your free time Googling. In fact you might choose to paint a wall for the simple pleasure of watching it dry over doing so!

But here are three little words that can make Licensing more exciting – Home Use Rights.

That’s Correct has explored briefly (Jan ’08) the different types of Licensing that Microsoft have on offer. OEM Licensing is probably the most common licensing, simply because for the most part people are prepared to pay for it and it serves its purpose; it is also dead easy to understand… OEM Licensing is a seemingly low cost solution enabling you to install a full version of Microsoft product on a single machine at the time of purchase.

It is not without its limitations though. Once it is time to update the machine, a new license has to be purchased. Essentially you need to keep purchasing OEM software over and over again each time you refresh your fleet. If you have few PCs in the office and you upgrade only when absolutely necessary, this is not such a problem. If you have a larger fleet however and like to keep up to date, this continual purchasing cycle can quickly become costly. It is also difficult to track how many licenses you have and when software versions are upgraded it can leave you a little in the lurch.

So what are your options if this last category fits you?

Open Licensing is Microsoft’s answer for companies who are looking to streamline their licensing purchases and consolidate all their licensing into one program.

There are plenty of different Open Programs on offer, but the two that we deal with most frequently are Open Business and Open Value. They fit the SMB market space really well and can offer advantages over simply rolling out OEM licenses on each PC in the fleet.

Why go Open?  Very quickly here are some reasons you might consider moving to an Open Licensing program. Open licensing gives you the right to run previous software versions, for example access to downgrade rights for previous versions of Office. It also gives you access to free version upgrades if Software Assurance (Microsoft’s maintenance program) is activated.

It makes it easy to manage licensing and confidently stay compliant, in addition to being able to transfer licenses from old to new machines when refreshing fleets. Being able to view licensing information online also helps with management and traceability, but by far the coolest thing about Open Licensing is that if you have an Open Value program with Software Assurance attached to it, you can take advantage of Microsoft’s Home Use Rights.

What this means is that companies with active Software Assurance for qualifying desktop applications, such as the Office suite, can allow their employees who are using a license at work to acquire a license free for home use as well!

To find out more about Open Licensing or Home Use Rights, call us on 02 8831 8200.