Microsoft Open Licensing (OLP)

Open Licence Program (a.k.a OLP):

This is the standard “Entry Level” programme for the vast majority of SMB’s (Small to Medium Businesses) as it requires just 5 licences to start an agreement. The agreement lasts for 2 years and once it’s set up, you can order licences in any quantity from 1 upwards. There are 2 price levels (NL & C) which are determined by the points value of your first make it a big one if you can! 

OLP is a perpetual licensing scheme so you own the licences (as opposed to a subscription licences such as Open Value Subscription).


Level NL: This is the standard pricing and orders at this price level can contain products from any of the 3 software pools.

Level C: This is the 2nd (and uppermost) price level on OLP and requires an initial order of 500 points in one pool to qualify.

Pools you say?


Yep-Microsoft split their software into three pools:

  • Applications (Office, Visio, Project, Expression etc)
  • Servers (Windows Svr, SQL Svr, Exchange Server, Sharepoint Svr etc and their CALs)
  • Systems (Desktop Operating System I.e. Vista and soon to be Windows 7)

These only really come into play when you look at Level C pricing. As I mentioned that requires 500 points in one pool so you could NOT have a mix of Office and Sharepoint Svr or Windows Svr and Vista for example…but you could combine SQL and Exchange or Project & Visio…I hope that makes sense?

It’s quite a common mistake for people to forget this rule and simply add up the total of ALL the points, not remembering to split them down by pool-this will of course affect the final quote total so it’s an important point!


Let me explain all this talk of points too. Each product has a points value, a total of which is used to calculate your pricing level going forwards. Examples of the values are:

  • Office = 2 points
  • Vista = 2 points
  • All CALs = 1 point
  • Windows Server Std = 15 points

If you hot the 500 point threshold for one pool but not the others, you will simply have 2 agreements-one on Level NL and one of Level C.

Software Assurance gives a number of benefits-the most well known being “upgrade protection rights” and is optional on OLP. If you decide to take it, it will add approx 40% on to the licence cost and gives you free upgrades for teh duration of it’s cover-which is typically 2 years. However be aware that it lasts only until the end of the agreement; so if you buy it 6 months after your 1st order you’ll be covered for 18 months NOT the full 2 years. *You should always start a new agreement when purchasing Software Assurance.* (There will be a separate page on SA soon!)

OLP licensing gives you acces to the eOpen website. This is a central place that shows all your orders and agreement numbers as well as containing all your licence keys. The installation media can be downloaded from the site rather than purchased via resellers.

There is reduced pricing available for Educational Establishments as well as charities, and there is now Open Licensing for Governments (OLPG). These, and more, will be covered ASAP in future posts :-)

6 thoughts on “Microsoft Open Licensing (OLP)

  1. Pingback: Windows 7 in the pricefiles « Software Ruminations

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Software Ruminations

  3. Pingback: Merry Xmas to all Software Ruminators! | Software Ruminations

  4. I’m very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that’s at the other blogs.

    Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  5. Hi there! Just a query…. Wont it work out cheaper if i go in for a SLP license instead of a OLP license?
    If i go for that option, what will be my restrictions arising out of SLP vis-a-vis OLP?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s