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Microsoft's new volume-licensing scheme could simplify buying, managing products

More info available next week

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Midsize companies should get ready this month as Microsoft introduces a new purchasing scheme that changes the way it deals with its volume licensing customers.

The company says the purpose of the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) is to make buying and managing volume licenses easier, according to a blog by Richard Smith, the general manager of Microsoft's World Wide Licensing & Pricing.

MPSA replaces Microsoft Business and Services Agreements, Select Plus Agreements and Microsoft Online Services purchasing terms and conditions. The program will include a new Web site that offers a new set of options for making purchases and keeping track of agreements easier, according to Smith.

An online seminar on the MPSA is scheduled for Dec. 10 for U.K. customers, according to the blog Software Ruminations.

Customers using hybrid clouds based on Microsoft products want more flexible licensing to accommodate their unique needs, Smith writes in his blog.

The contract structure for volume licenses changes under MPSA so there will be one agreement covering all of a customer's organisations and individual entities in a way that "delivers the best overall value based on total volume," as Smith describes it.

Buying all Microsoft software and online services as a single package means fewer terms and conditions to manage, he writes. MPSA will include Web-based tools for choosing payment options and give customers an overall view of what they've bought and licensed. Eventually the tools will be expanded to gather business intelligence to help customers plan future purchases, he says.

Microsoft has piloted MPSA during the past year, and this month becomes available in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Canada, with more to come next year.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.


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