NET(net), Inc.


Microsoft offers true “rental” of Office, Windows by scottbraden

In an interesting development which may be useful for many of our Clients, Microsoft has announced the ability to rent its software. 

https://partner.microsoft.com/40104043

And some great commentary by Mary Jo Foley, here:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=4930&tag=col1;post-4930

This is a new offer, but it’s not really the first ‘rental” deal that Microsoft has offered.

Today, there are several ways to purchase and use Microsoft products:
 – “OEM preload” – the typical way that Windows is sold, preloaded by the manufacturer on new PC’s.  Microsoft also offers a few other products via OEM, notably the home and small business flavors of Office. This license is a perpetual license for a one-time cost (typically included in the cost of the PC).
 – Full package product (“FPP”) or shrinkwrap boxes. Traditional retail packaging, this is a perpetual license for a one-time cost.
 – Volume Licensing – via the Open, Select, Enterprise Agreement structures – Microsoft customers can get volume discounts for full, perpetual licenses, and also purchase Software Assurance to cover future upgrades, which then become perpetual rights to the new versions.
 – Subscription models – Microsoft offers several “rental” programs via the various contractual structures.
Enterprise Subscription Agreement (most commonly for enterprise customers) or Open Value Subscription for smaller enterprises.  These contracts are structured similar to normal volume licensing deals; the main difference is that there is no “perpetual” component to the licensing; when the agreement ends, all rights to the software expire and the customer must remove the code from all the machines covered.
 – Various hosted / SaaS options – Microsoft and a large partner community offer online solutions for most of the business products in Microsoft’s portfolio. Recently, Microsoft has made a big push into selling Exchange and SharePoint services via the cloud, under their BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) brand umbrella.  They have also announced plans to deliver Office and other products under this model.  Again, this is a true subscription approach, so no perpetual rights are transferred to the end customer and usage rights terminate with the contract.
 – and finally, the new Rental offer, which is interesting in that it allows an owner of a perpetual license to make a one-time purchase, which grants the right to rent the software to other customers. 

On first blush, the new Rental rights may be useful in cases where clients need to have temporary usage of a product set on seasonal or project-based needs, where the user count will increase then decrease in a period of less than a year.

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