Microsoft has released new tools to help partners navigate two of its more complicated offerings: product licencing and the Windows Vista client OS.
Microsoft LicenseWise builds upon a previously released tool for Microsoft customers, Product License Advisor. The latter helped customers configure an IT environment and generate a report online that would tell them what licences they would need and the cost, Microsoft's worldwide licencing and pricing general manager, Mike Oldham, said.
LicenseWise picked up, for Microsoft's business partners, where that tool left off, he said. It allowed a partner to access a quote a customer generated in Product License Advisor, build its own pricing into it, and then generate a proposal back to the customer for how much it would cost to licence those products through the partner.
Microsoft's complicated licencing schemes have long been a headache for partners and customers, but it has made a concerted effort in the past several years to simplify the process, Oldham said. For instance, just two years ago Microsoft had 74 licencing models customers could choose from; now it has nine.
The new Vista tool also was an extension of software already available, called Windows Vista Hardware Assessment, corporate vice-president of the Windows business group, Mike Sievert, said. That application helped business users see how much effort it would take to migrate desktops to Vista by testing and reporting the hardware and device-driver capability of PCs against the OS.
The new tool, Windows Vista Business Value Assessment, allowed partners to sit down with customers to not only assess how Vista would impact their network, but also figure out how to improve the total cost of ownership of the installation, Sievert said.