Microsoft Licensing

Understanding Microsoft Licensing

Over the past weeks, we have been providing you with insights about Microsoft Licensing changes that were introduced in 2022. We touched upon the implications of the end of the Open License Program as well as the introduction of the New Commerce Experience and how your organization would be affected. Today, we are addressing a few of the most common questions that clients ask us.

Who is affected by the end of the Open License Program?

A: The Microsoft Open License program was created over 20 years ago with the intent to provide small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to purchase multiple perpetual software licenses at volume pricing. On January 1, 2022, the program was replaced by what Microsoft refers to as an “Enhanced Customer Experience” to license sales. According to this model, moving forward SMBs are to partner with a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), such as iShift, for future license purchases.

How can organizations purchase Software Assurance (SA) for their perpetual licenses after the end of the Open License Program?

A: Software Assurance (SA) will no longer be available through the Open License program. Microsoft recommends that companies move the Open Value (OV) program. The OV program does not offer perpetual licenses but includes SA and costs less, which makes it suitable for SMBs with five or more desktop PCs.

What happens to the “tokens” to use Microsoft’s online services participants of the Open License program may have purchased?

A: Those tokens will remain active for five years from the purchase date. Contact us if you need guidance on how to use them.

How can I get Microsoft perpetual licenses now that the program has ended?

A: Microsoft recommends executing new license-only purchases through partners in the CSP program. As a Microsoft CSP partner, we can make sure that your licenses are up-to-date and you get the right license for your situation.

What are the immediate steps my organization should take before transitioning to the New Commerce Experience (NCE)?

A. These are the steps you can take:

  • Audit your current Microsoft licenses so you know how many you need to migrate to the NCE program.
  • Find out if you can take advantage of discounts that are being offered on annual subscriptions before March 1, 2022.
  • Figure out the long-term implications of Microsoft licensing for your particular business and decide if one or three-year terms make more sense, or if you need to have a handful of month-to-month licenses to handle short-term changes in your business. Be aware that Licenses canceled mid-way through a 12-month term will no longer be credited.

iShift is Here to Help

We know that you probably have many more questions related to the serious overhaul in licensing Microsoft is introducing. The new programs and rules of engagement are complex, confusing, and convoluted… especially if you aren’t used to them or lack the bandwidth to go through all the documentation. That’s why iShift is here to help. As your co-innovation partner for Cloud and a Microsoft CSP partner, we can really guide you in figuring out the best and most flexible options under the new licensing model.

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About iShift

iShift is a multi-cloud technology solutions company that provides cloud engineering, cloud migration, cloud management and specialized IT staffing services. Our mission is to help businesses to simplify and accelerate growth while enabling digital transformation and IT modernization. No matter where organizations are in their cloud journey, iShift can design, build, optimize and manage a future-ready multi-cloud environment, resulting in significant cost savings, increased workforce productivity, operational resilience, continuity of services, and business agility. For more information on how our offerings empower businesses through their adoption of cloud and modern technology, visit

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