Details on Software Assurance for Windows 7
No, Windows 7 did not release to manufacturing yesterday, a fact that was once again repeated by Microsoft to Betanews late yesterday. As blogger Ed Bott accurately pointed out, those who drew conclusions about the multitude of zeroes in the build number were not taking into account the more esoteric meanings such numbers have historically held within Microsoft.
So yesterday’s news of volume licensing discounts for Windows 7 beginning September 1 was not a delay. In fact, as a Microsoft spokesperson outlined for Betanews late yesterday, business customers are already eligible for upgrades to Windows 7 under their existing Software Assurance program, which will expire shortly after the new licensing program is set to begin.
“If your PCs are covered by Software Assurance when Windows 7 is released, then you automatically get the rights to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise to those PCs without an additional license fee (media fulfillment fees may apply),” reads Microsoft’s partner page explaining the Software Assurance (SA) program.
In fact, there’s a window of opportunity for SA customers to get a big break throughout the entire month of August, the spokesperson told us. If a customer purchases a new PC between July 31 and August 31, and “if a customer attaches Software Assurance to a new PC, that PC is eligible to upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise as soon as it is available.” There’s a 15% discount on SA costs during that month as well.
“This offer is the better deal,” the spokesperson admitted, “because the cost is less and the customer gets Windows 7 Enterprise.”
Under the volume license deal announced yesterday, new customers will get a 15% discount on upgrades to Windows 7 Professional (note: not Enterprise), beginning September 1 and for six months thereafter. “Any PC with a qualifying operating system such as Windows Vista Business or Windows XP Professional is eligible, regardless of when it was purchased.”
September 1 is when Windows 7 will appear for the first time on Microsoft’s Volume Licensing price list. We wanted to make sure, are VL customers entitled to Windows 7 prior to October 22, the system’s general availability (GA) date? Our spokesperson told us yes.
“Microsoft policy is that customers with active Software Assurance agreements will be entitled to new versions of software as they become available upon the first appearance of a product on a Microsoft VL Price List, or when the product is available for digital download from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center (MVLS), whichever comes first,” Betanews was told. “Windows 7 is scheduled to RTM in the second half of July 2009. According to that schedule Windows 7 would appear on the Volume License price list on September 1, and MVLS availability may occur prior to date.”