Microsoft recently announced it is changing how its Open Business/Open License program works. Up until now, small and medium business sized organizations could purchase Microsoft licensing (Windows Server, Client Access Licenses, etc.) via either the Open Business/Open License program or the Open Value program.
(If you’re not one-hundred percent on what Software Assurance is, here’s an old blog post of ours explaining how it works and how you get it and why you should have it. Please note that it does not contain the new information below about changes to the program just yet.)
The Open Business/Open License program allows clients to purchase Software Assurance (SA) in two-year agreements or to forgo SA altogether. Open Value requires the purchase of SA either upfront for three years or as a three-year annuity option (an annual payment, one-third of the upfront option, for three years).
These programs will stay in place as is until January 1, 2022. After that, you will no longer be able to purchase the two-year SA option, and any SA-less licensing purchases must be run through a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) like Mirazon. Purchasing licensing this way means you’ll have to have an Office 365 tenant, and your licenses will live in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
So, to summarize, if you don’t want SA you have to purchase your Microsoft licensing through a CSP like Mirazon. If you do want SA, you have to commit to a three-year agreement and either pay up front or annually for three years, which you can also purchase through Mirazon or another provider.
Anyone who purchases within the Open License/Open Business program up until January 1, 2022, will be grandfathered in until agreement expires. For Open License agreements that expire after January 1, 2022, Microsoft’s current plan is to migrate the SA renewal into the Open Value program, meaning that upon renewal, a three-year renewal of SA can be purchased (either with upfront or spread payments).
There are still a multitude of questions that aren’t answered. We’re on the edges of our seats to find out how Microsoft will iron out the kinks.