OEM, Retail, Open Licensing, Bulk Licensing
Posted on 2004-08-23
I am sick and tired of getting different answers from different people about Microsoft’s licensing scheme. After talking to multiple Microsoft people and Dell licensing people this is my conclusion. Would someone that knows exactly how MS licensing works tell me if I understand things correctly.
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM can only be purchased with a new PC. License is not transferable to another PC. This license must live and die with the PC it was purchased with. OEM licenses can be upgraded, for example, from windows 2000 to Windows XP.
Retail - Usually ships with extra worthless stuff like documentation. Microsoft does not support Retail you must contact the company you bought this license from for any technical help. The license can be transferred from one machine to another. Retail licenses cannot be upgraded. For example if you owned a licenses of windows 2000 retail you could not upgrade to windows XP you would need to purchase a new license for XP.
Bulk Licensing - This is a general term used when talking about open licensing and Software assurance.
Open Licensing - Open licensing is basically retail licensing in bulk quantities. It follows the same rules as bulk licensing does. The license can be moved from one computer to another but is not upgradeable just like retail.
Software assurance - Is bulk licensing on a software subscription service. As long as you pay your yearly maintenance fees you are entitled to the latest and greatest of the software your license under software assurance. Software assurance It is bulk licensing on a subscription service.