Microsoft Open programs overview

There’s an updated (February 2021) Microsoft Open programs overview document.

Just four pages long, it’s a summary of all of the key points of the Open License, Open Value and Open Value Subscription programs, and is updated for the discontinuation of the Open License program in December 2021, and the availability of Open Value offers for education and nonprofit customers in July 2021.

Find this document here:

Microsoft Viva

Microsoft announce the launch of their Employee Experience Platform (EXP) branded as Microsoft Viva.

There will be a number of modules within Viva, with Viva Topics available now, Viva Insights in public preview, Viva Learning in private preview, and Viva Connections coming soon. From a licensing perspective, Viva Topics is available in the EA, EES, and CSP as an add-on licence costing $5 per user per month for commercial users.

There are a whole host of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 licences which qualify as prerequisites which you can find on the Product Terms site here:

To find out more about the Viva vision and the modules themselves, find the Microsoft Viva announcement here:

Microsoft retires the Volume Licensing and SAM Competencies

Well, this has given us all something to talk about here at Licensing Towers!

Microsoft have announced a series of changes to their partner program and, as part of this, they are retiring a number of competencies – including those for Volume Licensing and Software Asset Management (SAM).

If you’re a current partner, wondering what this means for you and your business, Microsoft have produced an FAQ document which has some very relevant questions and can be downloaded here (

Although the competencies are being retired, there are two things that Microsoft make clear:

1)      Continued Volume Licensing certification will still be a requirement for Distributor and LSP partners

2)      SAM is still very much a focus for Microsoft and they will continue to work with partners on this

A question you will most likely hear around the business over the next few days will be:

“Are the competencies still worthwhile?”

and here at Licensing School, we feel there is still definite value to renewing/attaining these competencies, for a number of reasons.

Many customers understand the effort that goes into attaining a Microsoft competency and having MCP accredited staff members will still show them your dedication, focus and expertise. Additionally, the last date a partner can be active in one of these competencies is 30 January, 2018 so there are still almost two years until they are removed from the Partner Membership Center.

There are some deadlines to be aware of:

  • Current VL and SAM partners are able to renew these competencies by their next anniversary or 30 October, 2016 whichever comes first.
  • If you are currently working towards attaining one or both of these competencies, you need to sign up by 30 July, 2016.

If you’re now slightly concerned about how you, your team and/or your colleagues can learn the material and pass the exams in the next in the next couple of months – don’t worry, our range of exam prep materials will give you the best possible chance of attaining these certifications in the timeframe Microsoft have set!

For Volume Licensing, we have a range of resources and courses including our popular exam preparation guide “Lessons in Licensing – Microsoft 74-678: Exam Preparation Guide”, which can be found here (

For SAM, we are running a Licensing School Online 70-673 Exam Prep Course on 4 May, 2016. Register here using voucher code 70-673-35B and get the promo price of £65 + VAT.

To read more, and to see other impacted competencies, head over to the Microsoft MPN Evolution page here (

September 2015 MPSA Changes

Microsoft announce that there are two big updates for the MPSA from 1st September 2015, with the addition of:

  • Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS)
  • Multi-year subscriptions for Online Services

ECS was previously only available via the Enterprise Agreement (EA) and includes Office 365 E3, the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and Windows per User, as well as a number of other services– see more info here

The second addition enables MPSA customers to order one, two, or three-year subscriptions for certain Online Services with price protection for all incremental orders.

The Microsoft WWLP blog post is here