The Microsoft Licensing Guide (con't)
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By Joshua Erdman
Retail LicensesWith retail licenses, you own the license and software no matter what happens to the machine it is installed on. But you pay much more than you would if you bought OEM, easily twice as much! Technical support is limited to a month after purchase. Retail software is usually bought at places like Staples, OfficeDepot, and Best Buy.
The license protection built into retail software is a nightmare; not only do you have to enter a key code, but you must also connect to Microsoft over the Internet or call them to activate teh software. The software also keeps track of your system to ensure that it has not been moved to a different machine. If the software believes that it has been moved in some way, you must once again call Microsoft and obtain a new unlock code. Microsoft keeps track of the use of key codes and the unlock codes they give you. If they feel that you are abusing the License Agreement they may refuse to give you an unlock code. They could also request to audit your software. Being reported for illegal software licensing practices is especially easy. www.microsoft.com/piracy is the reporting page that Microsoft has set up.
Clue: Just by making hardware changes to your PC such as RAM or a new Hard Drive the software might require to be re-activated.
So with Retail, you get to keep the software, but are faced with a management headache trying to keep track of the number of licenses and which computer each license was installed on. You also have to make sure that you have not used the same keycode more than once so Microsoft does not start wondering what you are doing. This is an administrative nightmare and totally cost prohibitive. But on an up-note, you can purchase future additions in special upgrade packages. Upgrades are not available for the next type of license, Volume Licensing.
Lucky for us, Microsoft has three volume licensing programs available to help customers organize their licenses, stay up to date, and receive savings. The biggest benefit is a Volume License Key and the ability to push out the software administratively to the whole office.
Each program vary by features, services and requirements. The simplest is Open License intended for businesses with at least 5 PCs. Select License and Enterprise Agreement Plans are licensing programs intended for corporations with at least 250 PCs.
Volume Licensing Programs also vary in the benefits they provide such as free take-home licenses for employees, training programs, Software Assurance and employee software discounts. Each of these programs are described in detail in the Volume Licensing article.
--> Volume Licenses
Article last reviewed: 06/23/2008