Category Archives: Purchases & Licensing

XP, Windows 2003, Office 2003 ‘End of Life” Only Days Away! – What does this mean?

Kudos to Eric Ligman, aka The Man, for coming through with a very proactively timed post on what this means that XP is at “End of Life”.  It sounds scary but in reality you might see that there is still more breath to the XP & Windows 2003 OS, as well as, Office 2003.  That’s a good thing since a lot of businesses are still using these products!

Microsoft SMB Community Blog:

How to know when support ends or changes for your Microsoft product


There was just a question floating around about when Mainstream and Extended support phases for Microsoft products ended, based on the fact that three of our products (Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange Server 2003) all make this shift from Mainstream to Extended support next week on the 14th, and how would you know. I thought I would share with everyone here in the Community so you all know.

First, let’s start with what the differences are between Mainstream support and Extended support phases. Here is a quick chart to show you what is and is not included inside each of these phases  …more <link below to full article>

Microsoft SMB Community Blog : How to know when support ends or changes for your Microsoft product


Laptop PC Price Perfect and Under Budget

SBS 2008 Media for Open Licensing Purchases

This is straight talk direct from the perspective of a Microsoft Partner & SBSC organization.  I tell it without any apologies.

To briefly review SBS purchase options you have three:

  1. OEM – ships with the server hardware
  2. FPP – Full Package Product – you buy the plastic box with media inside
  3. Open Licensing – digital licenses, you purchase through distributor – media is provided via a second step unique to SBS and a scant few Microsoft products such as Microsoft Math (I’d never heard of it either)

To begin, you reach out to a distributor and purchase your licenses and decide Open Licensing is the type you want (see Eric Ligman’s helpful  and up-to-date resources).  An email is sent to the purchaser which provides a confirmation of the purchase along with the order Authorization Number and the License Agreement Number and a listing of the product licenses with corresponding Microsoft Product Number.  With this information and the instruction contained with it, you can set up an account with Microsoft currently at a licensing management site called eOpen –

After entering the Authorization Number and License Agreement Number(s) for your client, the information is accessible.  From the left column of eOpen there is a link to “Product Downloads”.


Clicking this takes you to another licensing management site, Volume Licensing Service Center.

So maybe you read words in titles and are now encumbered with the mind twister of “Volume Licensing”.  What is that?  Didn’t I just earlier say there were only three types of licensing?  Yes, and it all is still true.  Let me do you a great service in untwisting the language jargon.  Microsoft has an incentive program for selling licensing that is available to Partners and this is called Volume Licensing.  When you sell various Open Licenses you get different points and this then leads to benefits for the partner.  In other words Volume Licensing isn’t a type of licensing it is an incentive program.  In the future you might realize that the eOpen site is entirely unneeded as everything can be done solely through the better designed and full functioning Volume Licensing Service Center site.  Tip *** save the URL into a SharePoint link list why you are there.

So at this site you can get to a place to “Download Products”; however, with SBS Open Licensing this is a cruel tease.  You won’t be downloading SBS media but it will lead you to obtain it via ‘an order’ (no cost aka free).



Clicking the link as show above takes you here and it looks like you are going to be able to download it!  psyche!  There is even a drop down box which misleadingly offers a 32 bit version of SBS 2008 (there isn’t one due to Exchange 2007).  You must choose something in each dropdown box before the needed link appears.  Notice that the “Continue Download” button is grayed out and the only active thing is a link to “Purchase the media kit version”.  Follow that link:


The subsequent page lets you order a media kit which you have no “overnight delivery” option even for a fee.  There is but one option and its to wait for it to come on its own pace.  The good news is that you can order more than 1 copy of the media.  So once you’ve got this far why not order some extra copies for your next client who purchases SBS Open Licenses.  You can order up to 10 kits.

The media comes equipped with a suite of disks in sleeves that is vacuum wrapped in plastic; on the back of the sleeves are the associated and activation needed Product Keys.  My October 2008 labeled media disks were a light blue and white design and most are DVD’s.

While you are waiting just obtain the proper version media and install it in trial mode by bypassing the Product Key entry – leaving it blank.  You’ll get your media before your trial expires.  Also remember you can use the ‘slmgr –rearm’ command to renew the trial up to three times for  a maximum total of 120 days (4x 30 days trial).

Microsoft Equipt – Annual Subscription License

…an Office Home & Student shopping gotcha is that at Circuit City (and only Circuit City) they sell a annual subscription version called Microsoft Equipt. It’s Office Home and Student 2007 & Live OneCare. The gotcha is the unique ‘annual subscription’ license and that information isn’t being made very prominent (aside from the box itself).  You are to pay an annual  $69.99 MSRP subscription to continue receiving updates and upgrades (including future versions). Also, now that Live OneCare has gone bye-bye this annual subscription has limited value going beyond the first year.

In case you aren’t familiar with Microsoft Licensing, if you aren’t licensed then you don’t legally own the rights to use the software.  In other words if you don’t pay $70/year every year of the subscription then you forfeit ownership and are no longer legally running the sofware.  Will the police be coming bye to uninstall it and fine you?  most likely not, you’ll just be on your own for support.

Since initially posting this, my colleagues have chimed in that there is a possibility that Microsoft will end this product altogether and if they do then they will convert it into a fully licensed equivalent Office product and let the Live OneCare expire at the end of its year.  There aren’t any current known Microsoft products to upgrade Live OneCare.  It should be interesting to see how beta code named “Morro” develops until its July ’09 release.


SBS 2008 Product Launch Tour Visits Cincinnati

SBS 2008 Launch Tour visited our windblown and powered off (580,000+ outages) city yesterday.  We had to scramble and relocate the meeting so we didn’t have to run a PowerPoint presentation via candles. It was encouraging that a descent crowd found the changed last minute gathering spot.

SBS 2008

Can’t say anything revolutionary was learned that I hadn’t already seen from using the SBS 2008 RC code but it was nice to converse with someone from the development team and marketing team.  It was also fun to throw out some suggestions to the guys who can implement them or directly influence those that can.  One suggestion that got good reception was for a web based matrix in order to provide a simple guide of upgrade options based upon licenses and CALS presently owned.  Bernardo Munoz, Microsoft Director of Marketing, took particular interest in surveying with raised hands how many current clients would likely upgrade during the next year.  The popular estimate was that 30-40% of businesses would upgrade and the remaining market for SBS 2008 would be new purchases.

There was quite a lot of conversation over the changes to the emerging licensing non-enforcement ‘honor code’ system and how that would play out in the competitive marketplace; it should be interesting to see if everyone plays fairly.   When things aren’t concrete there is uneasiness and that was revealed in spades.

We did learn that there will be a short term period in which Open Value Subscriptions might be leveraged to get a current SBS install qualified for an upgrade; however, as always the devil is in the details and we weren’t presented with those.  There is a licensing boot camp coming next week from the Heartland PCM, Brad Rozen, so I hope to learn more then.  My guess is that Eric Ligman will also have great and timely licensing and Open Value resources to support us during launch if they aren’t there already.

We were told that SBS 2003 R2 SKU’s will continue to be listed for sale through the end of October; so if you want to take advantage of SA rights and getting the extra software such as ISA 2006, an extra Server 2003 R2 license, Outlook 2007/Entourage, …etc and cheaper prices, the window is quickly closing to take advantage of the deal.

By the way, I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to some nice rebates and incentives that have come in place such as the Big Easy 2.0.  Brad Rozen, Heartland PCM, touched on this and as always was very well heard; he can deliver and be understood throughout a crowded room.  Also Brad called the Partners’ attention to upcoming licensing boot camps including next Tuesday’s in the Cincinnati Microsoft Corporate offices.  Additionally others are scheduled in other cities in the upcoming weeks.