For 20 years, the Microsoft Open License made it simple for small and medium-sized organizations to acquire volume licenses to Microsoft software through an easy, cost-effective program. But as of 2022, Microsoft has eliminated the Open License program entirely, requiring organizations to acquire new software agreements through a Cloud Solution Provider program.

Although software licensed under the previous program will continue to function through the end of its license date, Open License customers will need to make new arrangements for their future software needs. This is especially noteworthy for nonprofits, educational organizations, and government clients, all of which have benefited from Open License agreements tailored to their specific industry needs.

As a certified Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, DWD Technology Group knows that these changes will directly impact many of our clients. Here’s a look at how changes to the Open License program and new offerings through the Open Program may affect small and mid-sized public sector organizations and nonprofits.

What is the change to the Open License program, and when did it happen?

On December 17, 2020, Microsoft announced that public sector customers would be among the small and mid-sized businesses impacted by changes to the Open License program. Unlike a traditional retail or OEM license, Open Licenses provided through authorized resellers granted organizations a variety of flexible rights, including transfer and downgrade options, access to Software Assurance, user-based licensing, and special pricing.

The benefits and agreements made possible through the Open License program have been revamped and incorporated into Microsoft’s new Open Value program. Customizable for small and mid-sized organizations with five or more desktop PCs, the Open Value program offers a new, cost-effective way to acquire, manage, and maintain Microsoft software.

As of January 1, 2022, software licenses, Software Assurance, and online services for public sector organizations will continue until their expiration date, after which a new solution must be selected. Online service tokens purchased before December 31, 2021, can still be used within five years of its purchase.

What are the benefits of this change for public sector clients?

Microsoft’s new Open Value options for public sector clients will continue to offer special pricing and licensing terms to better reflect the needs of each particular industry, including:

  • Open Value for Government licenses offer simplified asset management, predictable costs, spread payments, and Software Assurance, and the enhanced Open Value Subscription for Government option also offers software licenses and cloud services through a subscription-based option. Government eligibility for Open Value programs vary based on region, and some health organizations, such as those involved in providing health services, setting healthcare policy, or funding or regulating health coverage, may also qualify.
  • Open Value for Academic licenses offer simplified asset management, predictable costs, spread payments, and Software Assurance. The Open Value Subscription for Education Solutions option also provides access to software licenses, cloud services, and additional student use benefits through a subscription program. Eligible small to medium-sized academic organizations tend to include educational institutions, administrative offices, boards of education, public libraries, and museums.
  • Eligible nonprofits can continue to acquire software licenses at reduced pricing through the Open Value program. (In the United States, an eligible nonprofit must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt organization.)

For mid-sized government, education, nonprofit, and other public sector organizations, a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider can also help determine the best possible cloud solution. Offering a pay-as-you-go business model, Cloud Solution Providers can help guide public sector organizations from purchasing to deployment and use.

Since 1990, DWD Technology Group has provided IT expertise to public sector organizations throughout the Midwest. As a Silver Microsoft Partner, our vast knowledge and experience with Microsoft Cloud Solutions enables us to find the best possible software option for any small or mid-sized public sector operation. To navigate changes to your Microsoft services through the Open License program, contact us today!

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