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Microsoft woos Mom & Pop

Microsoft is revamping its license program to make things easier for small and mid-size businesses.

Microsoft is revamping its license program to make it easier for small and mid-size businesses to save money on Microsoft purchases by ordering in bulk quantities.

This week's changes to the company's Open License program lower the minimum requirements for the first level of its licensing program from 50 units or licenses of a particular piece of software to 20 for first-time purchases, and from 20 to 10 for reorders. The company also lowered the requirements for the second level of volume discounts from 500 to 200 units.

The program is intended to let whole new classes of businesses join the licensing program and present them with a stronger incentive to choose Microsoft software over competitors' products.

Microsoft licenses cover a wide range of the company's software products. Prices under the Open License program are set by software resellers, but remain fixed for two years after the initial purchase when applied to reorders. In addition to the Open program, Microsoft offers other licensing programs. The Enterprise License is for companies that want to deploy a single application or family of applications within a department, or across the entire organization. The Variable License gives greater flexibility in mixing and matching products to reach higher volume levels.

The new levels apply to businesses, but not to educational institutions.

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