Microsoft Select Licensing Discontinued

Microsoft Select Licensing is being discontinued and July 1st 2011 is the official “End of Sales” date”.

Microsoft have many licensing schemes and Select has been a long running and quite popular one, aimed ostensibly at business of 250+ machines. A huge number of business in the upper end of the mid market and the Enterprise sectors have a Select contract, either standalone or tagged onto an Enterprise Agreement.

Currently customers can choose between Select & Select Plus but, from July 1st 2011, only Select Plus will be available.

What about existing customers?

After July 1st 2011, no new Select agreements will be available however,

“Customers will not be required to migrate existing Select agreements, and renewals will continue to be available”

so this isn’t going to be a huge upheaval for current Select customers.

What is Select Plus?

Select Plus was introduced to offer customers more choice and flexibility as well as offer improved cost savings:

· Improved customer insight with single cross-company purchasing with customer ID

· Administrative cost savings due to evergreen agreement term

· Reduced complexity with automatic tiered pricing

What’s the point?

One of the big differences is that Select Plus gives you a full 36 months of Software Assurance coverage from the time you purchase the licence rather than up until the end of the agreement. This will mean that customers see a greater ROI and also reduce licensing complexity. Under current Select licensing, one must take into account the position through the contract at which the purchase is being made and purchase the correct licence:

  • 3 years remaining
  • 2 years remaining
  • 1 year remaining

and each has a different price.

A common objection from Financial Directors/Finance Dept’s is that Software Assurance costs are not pro-rated through the year, for example:

A new contract is started on 01/01/2010 and Windows Server Std licences with 3 years SA are purchased for £1200*.

6 months later, the customer needs to acquire another of the same licences…and it still costs £1200*. This is a sore point for many people!

Often the result of the above is customers delaying projects until the next year of their contact. So rather than spending £12000 on deploying 10 Windows Servers they will push the project back 3-3 months and spend maybe £10,400 on the project instead. While this will save them money in the short term, there are of course costs associated with delaying projects and not benefitting from the increased productivity etc that the project would deliver.

Microsoft have clearly decided that Select Plus is the way forward although, in my experience, there hasn’t been as much uptake as expected. There will be people who aren’t happy with this (as always) but I think, in general, this will be a positive move for Microsoft’s customers.

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