Microsoft Corp.’s tool for helping customers make sense of its complicated product licensing is expected to make its debut outside the U.S. with several new features on Tuesday, according to the software company.
The second phase of the Microsoft Product Licensing Advisor’s (MPLA’s) rollout will allow customers in Canada and some countries in Europe — including France, Germany and Spain — to use the tool, said Sunny Jensen Charlebois, Microsoft’s senior product manager of worldwide licensing and pricing.
More specific country information will be available when the rollout goes live late Tuesday at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/mplahome.mspx. Previously, the tool was available only in the U.S.
Microsoft introduced the MPLA in November as a way of walking customers through the process of choosing product licenses. The company sells its volume licenses mainly through partners, so once customers get an idea of what they will need by using the tool, they can contact a Microsoft partner to help them make final decisions.
Since November, MPLA has only been available in the U.S. with estimated pricing for licenses in U.S. dollars. With Tuesday’s rollout, the pricing will now be available in each country’s local currency, but that information is still in English, according to Microsoft. Local language support will come in the third and final phase of the tool’s rollout, which is due between March and June.
Other new features of MPLA that are expected to go live on Tuesday are the ability for customers to get information on the Open Value Subscription licensing program, as well as two licenses aimed at specific institutions — the Open License for Academic, Charity, Local Government and Corporate Organizations and Select License for Academic, Government and Corporate organizations. In addition, customers now can obtain licensing information for Software Assurance, its software maintenance and update program, by using MPLA, according to the company.
Another new enhancement is a direct link to the current Product Use Rights document, a quarterly Microsoft publication that provides information about the use rights for products currently offered through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs.
For nearly two years, Microsoft has been introducing new ways to simplify its licensing models. The company has said these changes are based on feedback from customers and partners who have found it extremely challenging to identify the most cost-effective ways to license Microsoft products.
In addition to providing local language support, the final phase of the MPLA rollout will enable customers to directly connect with partners via a chat client, and also provide a price quote for specific product sets.