Microsoft Outlines its ASP Licensing Model

Microsoft Corp announced a commercial licensing program to offer flagship products including Windows 2000, SQL Server, Exchange and Office on subscription licensing through ASPs on Friday (Jul 14th). But it is keeping pricing for the new licence schemes under wraps until August 1st.

The announcement came as part of a package of new programs for ASPs unveiled at Fusion 2000, the company’s annual conference for channel partners in Atlanta GA (see separate story).

The Microsoft ASP Licensing Program, which takes effect August 1st in the Americas and in the rest of the world in September, enables ASPs to license Microsoft products on a monthly subscription basis for sublicensing to end customers. To participate, providers must be accredited Microsoft Certified Solution Partners (MCSPs).

Products are licensed either per user or per processor, depending on the product and – in some cases – the ASP’s preference. Where both types of licensing are allowed, the ASP is free to switch between them from one month to another.

Products that provide what Microsoft calls knowledge worker services, such as Office and Exchange, will only be available under the per-user Subscriber Access License, which is assigned to individual subscribers each month. The per user model is also being applied to Windows Terminal Services, Small Business Server, Systems Management Server and Visual Studio.

Microsoft pointed out that per subscriber licensing would give ASPs near zero start-up costs, since they only pay based on the number of subscribers they have each month.

ASPs will be free to choose between per-user and per-processor licensing for so-called line-of-business platforms such as SQL Server, as well as the underlying Windows 2000 server platform.

Hosting platforms such as Commerce Server will only be offered under per processor licenses, which allow an unlimited number of subscribers to use the software running on a single CPU (central processing unit). Multiple licenses will be required for multi-processor servers.

The per-CPU licence replaces concurrent licensing and also the previous Internet Connector license that allowed an unlimited number of “anonymous” users. Providers had found Internet Connector licensing impractical to manage because of the difficulty in distinguishing between Internet, intranet and extranet users. The simpler per-CPU licensing will lower administration costs for providers, the company said.

The announcement comes after the end of an extensive pilot program with partners in the US and worldwide – see related story, MS Launches Office Rental, Sep 18th 2000.

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