• Important Changes to Microsoft Licensing

    There have been many folk who have had many a rant about the cost of licences from the various companies out there ... whether it is the cost ... whether it is the arguments about the suitability of proprietary software (even if it does work and work well too!) ... or the complexity about the various options that are out there.

    And many of us would agree because *we* are the people who have done that rant ... and occasionally there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Over the last few weeks I've had a few interesting conversations with a number of resellers and it was brilliant to to see the news finally come out on Ray Fleming's blog earlier about changes to Schools Agreement licences.

    Full details will be out around BETT 2011 but here is a short extract from Ray's blog with some important things for you to look at now.
    What do you do now?
    Firstly, let me remind you that this is advance warning of a change coming on the 1st March 2011. So you can't get this new agreement now.*But here's some advice on what you can do now:
    • If you are going to renew a School Agreement between now and the 1st March, ask your Microsoft partner whether you'd be best to get a short-term extension for your School Agreement. This would give you 3 months of cover, to take you through until you can switch to EES. Your Microsoft Partner will be able to advise you if this is likely to save you money.
    • If you're planning to buy any Microsoft software in the next year, then consider coming along to our BETT stand in January, and having a chat with us about your best option.*<em>If your Head Teacher is reluctant to sign off a day out of school, then point out how much you might save with the new way of counting (staff, not computers).
    • If you're not buying your software under a School Agreement subscription already, then take a look at this, and have a chat with other schools locally that are. Although the new EES scheme isn't the same, you'll get a good idea of the benefits of subscriptions over other methods, and that will help you to make the right informed choice for next year.
    So ... go and have a read of the details ...

    Now, I know many people are against subscriptions ... and I have been there too. The idea of buying a perpetual licence sounds good to us all, especially if you don't upgrade with every new version of the OS or Office Suite when it comes out, so we would all be forgiven for getting frustrated with the cost of upgrades (especially when you don't get all the features with standard upgrade packages and need to cough up a bit more cash) against an annual cost. However, the new scheme actually comes out pretty good on the prices when you look at the cost of when you upgrade versions of your OS and various software packages ... for most secondaries you would find that it wasn't worth the cost to go to an annual model unless you had some major software replacement needs ... but now ... it is looking pretty good.

    The full figures should be out in Jan (the scheme goes live for schools in March ... and is live now for FE/HE) but if you are looking at buying under Select licences (especially if you are using software assurance) then make plans to look at ESS instead.

    Your reseller should be talking to you about the changes shortly, but if they don't then tell them you want more information. If you are already on the Schools Agreement then make sure that you only sign up for an extension and not for a full year. You need to make sure you get your extension in *before* your SA deal runs out. Make sure your reseller gets the forms to you sharpish.

    So ... there you have it ... a major change in the approach to licences from Microsoft ... so, they obviously have listened. There will still be those that want it for free, and those who say you shouldn't use those products anyway ... but a reality check here ... people are using MS products and will continue to for some time so you need to keep an eye on this.

    Will it ever be free? Who knows? All I know is that this is a chance for a lot of my local schools to save considerable amounts of money as well as getting more benefits too.
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. HodgeHi's Avatar
      HodgeHi -
      I've just a quick question.

      How does the Core CAL Suite work? Do you still have to buy individual CALS or does this CAL Suite cover all your users/devices through the EES Agreement?

      I've been trying to work this out but still not sure what it means. If I've got this right the EES is based on FTE staff instead of computers which seems to be good but does this mean you then have to purchase CALs per user instead of per machine?
    1. Dos_Box's Avatar
      Dos_Box -
      It is planned that we are to do a joint Microsoft\EduGeek webcast the Monday after BETT (17th Jan), where we shall be asking you for various questions closer to the time, or even during the webcast itself. This is timed to coincide with the Micrisift licensing announcement and address any queries you might have.
    1. rayfleming's Avatar
      rayfleming -
      The CoreCal suite on EES works on the same basis as Office, Windows upgrade etc - as long as you have covered all of your FTEs, all of your school computers are covered, regardless of how many there are (and therefore all of your users are covered). Except computers dedicated to specific students (you have to license those additionally, through the Student Option or other ways)
    1. zag's Avatar
      zag -
      I think they just want more money on a regular basis really.

      Subscription licensing is a really bad idea in my opinion, always has been, always will be.

      Can you imagine if we all paid a subscription for Vista instead of XP that we still love and use today. That would be 10 years of payments for software that wasn't needed.
    1. grdrager's Avatar
      grdrager -
      Here's a link to the program guide:
    1. rayfleming's Avatar
      rayfleming -
      Just a brief note - the Programme Guide above is for the US scheme - the version in Europe is slightly different, and we're just updating the UK version of that, which will be available shortly. I'll put the link to the UK version as soon as it's online.

    1. mavhc's Avatar
      mavhc -
      Will there really be enough improvements in windows/office to want to pay to upgrade? Aren't they basically finished? All the development is in free web apps
    1. bladedanny's Avatar
      bladedanny -
      I think the main thing that drew us to subscription is it's a much smaller sum of money at the outset. eg. either spend £11,000 in one go (most of our IT budget) or £2,000 yearly. Yes we will probably end up paying more if we stay on the same version too long but it's the only way we can afford it. I can't wait for EES.
    1. mb2k01's Avatar
      mb2k01 -
      I understand that pricing isn't being officially published until next year, but wonder if it would be possible for you/MS to provide at least a rough comparison - e.g. School 'x' which pays £15,000 per year on Schools Agreement with 90 staff could see potential savings of up to £x per year under EES?
    1. GrumbleDook's Avatar
      GrumbleDook -
      The problems with that is that should a school almost exactly like the scenario you suggest find that the figures don't quite match then all hell breaks loose as MS tweak the costs to make them comparable across markets.

      I don't even think those who have seen some of the examples (under NDA) could give you example figures right now either ... I'm afraid it is going to have to be a case of being patient.
    1. john's Avatar
      john -
      Quote Originally Posted by mb2k01 View Post
      I understand that pricing isn't being officially published until next year, but wonder if it would be possible for you/MS to provide at least a rough comparison - e.g. School 'x' which pays £15,000 per year on Schools Agreement with 90 staff could see potential savings of up to £x per year under EES?
      How about you do what we have been hoping for, as its based on a similar principal to how the Campus Agreement has worked for a long while, I asked my licensing partner to tell me what the most expensive price they had on the list for what I buy on my SA was, that gave me a rough idea which was showing a few thousand pounds of savings. So fine its not an official price or guide but given that its based on similar ideas to Campus it was a thought I had.
    1. m25man's Avatar
      m25man -
      What's the current cost of a Campus std desktop?
      A schools agreement 3.5 is around £28...
      I understand that M$ are offering extensions to School Agreement subscribers to bridge them through to EES, so they obviously think that this will be a big saver for some schools!

      Too early to speculate I expect but some initial calculations make it look like it could save our managed secondary around £7k pa...
      About time too..

      I guess we will know after BETT.