MS Office licensing for small firm

SOMAguy used Ask the Experts™
Hi guys,

What's the best cost effective method getting MS Office 2010 licensing for small 10 users firm?  Currently they buy each laptop with one retail Office media.
They just need word/excel/powerpoint and, outlook
Would it be better buying Volume licensing?  Other options?

Please advice.
Thank you!
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Top Expert 2005
Running the License Adviser ( I got:

The reported quantities do not meet the minimum license requirements for 'Open Value Subscription, Select Plus, Enterprise Agreement' The reported quantities do not meet the minimum desktop requirements for 'Open Value CWO, Open Value Subscription, Enterprise Agreement'
Sounds like you buy individual copies, but you can call CDW or a similar company and talk to their corporate licensing sales person who will know the best and least expensive way to license products from MS.


The vendor saying it would not meet the requirement for Open "Value", but would meet the requirement for Open "Business".

Does anyone know what Open  Business mean and would that be more cost effective then buying indivudual licenses for every machine?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Retail licensing is the most expensive you can get.  There are no discounts for it.  If you get Volume Licensing, you have the option to get Software Assurance with it - this grants you free upgrades to the next version, downgrade rights so you can use an older version, access to the media online, the rights to install it on a terminal server (you still need an appropriate number of terminal server use), and several other benefits.  The only thing you cannot do with a volume license is resell it... but... while you can resell a retail license, I don't know many people that would try and/or trust resold copies...

That said, the best people to talk to regarding licensing is Microsoft Licensing and Pre-Sales support.  We can say things that we believe to be true but licensing changes too frequently and any advice given here, in the event of an audit, will not be a valid defense.
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Top Expert 2005

Compare  Microsoft Office Standard 2010 - license
License - 1 PC - MOLP: Open Business - Win - Single Language

MFG #: 021-09707   |   CDW #: 2067853

Ready for shipment. Ships same day if ordered before 4pm CT. In Stock $362.99
Top Expert 2005

Microsoft Office Standard Edition - software assurance 2 years
Mfg. Part: 021-05624  |  CDW Part: 327128  |  UNSPSC: 43231513
Software assurance - 1 user - MOLP: Open Business - Win - Single Language Main  

I do not know what happens after 2 years...I assume you no longer have a license to use the software, e.g. you would have to renew or delete the product.
Top Expert 2005
I do not disagree with leew. That said, the only issue I see is if at the end of the "Software Assurance" period you still have rights to operate the software. If not, and if having free upgrades to as yet unknown releases is not an issue, It seems to me the purchasing the product outright would be a better investment for a small business.

My last experience with Software Assurance was primarily based on our desire to use any version (past or future) of Operating Systems and Server Software.  And I had 300 desktops and several dozen servers.

I have not upgraded from Windows XP Pro, Windows Server 2003, and MS Office 2003 and do not see any value in upgrading at this time.  i.e. There is nothing compelling about the latest offerings that matter to me, and I have begun deploying some Linux machines.  I do not care for Open Office, but would likely move that way before upgrading to MS Office 20??.

The wife's laptop is Vista Home which is terrible, reminds me of Windows 98 - a stop gap before a real upgrade.

That said, my helpless uncle has Windows 7.  Another pain in the butt compared with XP Pro or Linux.

I meandered my way to saying what does your company want? Just the product or a license to keep up to date, which you have to renew every two years? (you can also get three year terms).

But, as leew said, talk with the licensing expert at your vendor. Negotiation is not out of the question, (at least with 300 desktops and a couple dozen servers and 50 WinTerms I was able to negotiate playing two vendors against each other.)


Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

This is why you need to call Microsoft.  Software Assurance is essentially an add-on and NOT the full product - it's the license that grants you upgrade rights for 2 years. After two years, you're stuck on the version you had had rights to.

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