A Brief Overview of Microsoft SPLA

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The Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) allows Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who are offering hosted solutions, MBS (Microsoft Business Solutions) Partners who manage premise infrastructure, and cloud hosting providers to license Microsoft products and applications to their customers. To best meet customer needs, the original program was designed based on feedback taken from ISVs and then later altered/modified for cloud hosting providers. It supports a variety of options to create highly customized and beneficial solutions to a wide-ranging customer base.

The Microsoft SPLA license enables hosting providers to deliver services needed by their customers without upfront fees. The only requirement is that providers be Microsoft Certified Partners or Registered Members of the Microsoft Partner Program and enrolled in the Microsoft Hosting Program. Volume Licensing customers can now license Server Applications on-premise and in the cloud for specific applications.

Licenses under SPLA are non-perpetual and available in two models:

  • The per-subscriber model provides a Subscriber Access License (SAL), which must be supplied to every user or device in order to access software. There is no need for a separate Server License with this model.
  • The per-processor model allows an unlimited number of users to access the products.

Advantages of the Microsoft SPLA License Program

  • Access all the most recent versions of Microsoft software for a single monthly price. All are available to download, so there is no need to wait to receive physical copies.
  • Pay at the end of the month only for what you made available to you customers over the previous period. This allows for minimal startup costs and better cash-flow management. You pay by submitting a report to your designated SPLA reseller listing all product licenses made available to your end customers; you will receive an invoice for every reported license.
  • Typically, there are no price increases during the year. Costs may decrease at any time but typically increase either at the time of your renewal or the beginning of the year.
  • The product rights, specific to each individual product version, do not change throughout the duration of the program. You can check the rights in the Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR) document
  • Expand your reach by deploying services to qualified education customers at academic prices, offered on certain server products.
  • Use your Microsoft SPLA license to sell services to customers around the world, whatever your location.
  • Offer prospective customers software services on a trial basis lasting up to 60 days.
  • You are entitled to up to 50 active user IDs for demonstration purposes.
  • There is no minimum license requirement on the SPLA program; you are simply required to submit a zero license use report for the preceding month whenever you provide no licenses to an end customer. Microsoft is permitted to terminate the agreement only after six consecutive months of zero license use.

Increase the value of your services by receiving customized IT services tailored to your customers' needs through a dedicated or shared hosting environment.

Could a Company Benefit from Joining the Microsoft SPLA License Program?

SPLA differs from other Microsoft Volume Licensing programs in that it offers several licensing options for customers who need Microsoft software licenses for internal use. It is the only program that allows Microsoft products to be used for commercial hosting and therefore should be implemented by cloud hosting providers who want to offer software services to customers utilizing software licenses.

The difference between an application services provider (ASP) and a service provider acting as an outsourcer is that the former is a licensee of the software while the latter is not. Only ASPs operate under SPLA. Service provider hosting applications for a Select License, an Enterprise Agreement, or an Open License customer are not licensees and have no right to use the software for more than hosting purposes.

Independent Software Vendors providing applications to customers cannot use ISV or embedded original equipment manufacturer (OEM) licenses, as these do not allow for hosting nor do they provide commercial use rights. Once again, you need to sign up for the SPLA program to enjoy these benefits.

Companies must have the ability to closely monitor and audit its use of the SPLA license month over month. Many of the SPLA license titles available to companies are based on an agreement to have high user-access counts. Because of this, companies must continually pay close attention to usage.

What to Do Next

To join the program, you must sign up with a Microsoft SPLA reseller  with whom you will work to complete your Services Provider License Agreement. The reseller will be responsible for all of your reporting and payment submissions and will provide you with any support you need in regard to the program.


by GoIWx


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