Whether you’re a small home office user or an Enterprise class customer, Microsoft Office licensing is essential, taken either from Microsoft or a genuine third-party retailer. But, understanding licensing requirements can be a tedious task since you need to know what your licensing options are.
Microsoft Office Licensing
Microsoft Office licensing applies to each device. In other words, one license is required for each PC that uses the Microsoft Office application, which is a desktop application. Before purchasing a Microsoft license, an awareness regarding the type of license designation that caters to one’s needs is necessary.
When a buyer purchases a MS Office license, he/she is not purchasing the software. Instead, the user buys the rights to use the software that comes under the license agreement. Therefore, it is important that the buyer purchase the license that grants him/her the rights they desire.
For instance, purchasing a Microsoft Standard license does not give the rights to run Microsoft Access. The OEM Office license does not provide transfer rights. In such a case, the user should consider buying Volume Licensing or a Retail Box Office License. Further, there are office licenses with Downgrade Rights and Network Storage and Use rights – the basic rule is to purchase a license that caters to the specific needs of the user.
How to Identify the Type of License Designation
The license designation is often found on the Certificate of Authenticity near the product name. However, if the product key is purchased online, then it can be found on the download page.
Following are the three types of licenses:
- Full Packaged Product (FPP): the Retail license terms that come with the software are applicable to the customer
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): the OEM license terms that come with the software are applicable to the customer
- Volume licensing: involves a group of licenses (in the case of five or more desktop PCs)
- MLK or Media-less License kit
The following is a useful online pdf document by Microsoft US Senior Manager Eric Ligman. It outlines the type of licenses and the differences between them: MS Small Biz Office Licensing. This excellent guide can help the user decide which license suits his/her requirements.
What Are My Licensing Options and How Do I Buy Them?
In general, Microsoft software licenses come with two types of agreements. These agreements state how the software can be used. The first and most common one is Microsoft Software License Terms (MSLT). Earlier, this agreement was known as the end user license agreement or EULA. MSLT is familiar to a customer who has acquired the license for software from a retailer or who has bought a PC with the software installed on it beforehand. The second one is Product Use Rights (PUR) and these rights apply to software that is licensed through a Microsoft Volume Licensing program.
Usually, the license terms either come in hardcopy or electronic format. Managing and tracking electronic licenses is easier than handling physical license papers. The terms and conditions of the license must be accepted by the user before installing the software.
- The easiest and most economic way to acquire the MS operating sytem is to purchase a new computer that has the licensed OEM software preinstalled on it.
- For home or small businesses that require less than five computers, licensed software packages can be purchased from any certified Microsoft software retailer. The list of retailers can be obtained from the Microsoft Product Information Center online.
- Volume Licensing agreements can be obtained from Microsoft partners and resellers. The customer has to select the right volume licensing program that caters to his/her needs. The customer here refers to buisnesses where more than five PCs are required.
The customer is advised to directly purchase licensing online via the Microsoft website or from genuine Microsoft retailers, partners and resellers, depending on their needs in order to avoid ending up with software that does not have a genuine license. Finally, it should also be noted that Microsoft asks for product activation (in case of retail purchases) in order to verify that a genuine Microsoft product is used. This anti-piracy process verifies if the license is legitimate.
Image content @ Microsoft