New Version Rights with Software Assurance Explained

Summary: A common question we get, especially as excitement builds for the launch of a new version of a product is, “I have active Software Assurance (SA) coverage on my licenses and a new version is going to be released.  If my SA expires, or is about to expire, do I have rights to this new version?”  In this Licensing How To post, we cover New Version Rights: when and how you know what rights you have.

Among other advantages, “New Version Rights for Software Assurance (SA)” can be an attractive and valuable SA benefit.  As outlined in the Product List, for any licensed Product covered with active SA, you are given the right to upgrade and run the latest version of the Product that is made available during the coverage term. You may have wondered, “What do they mean by Made Available?” The term refers to the earlier of either the date that Microsoft makes the Product available for ordering, or the date that the Product is available for download from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) website.

Microsoft releases a price list for Volume License Programs on the first of each month and anytime a New Product Version is released through Volume Licensing, it is available for purchase on the first of the month.  For example, although Office 2013 and the related server Products - SharePoint Server 2013, Lync Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2013 were available on the pricelist on December 1st, 2012  that is not their made available date.  Because these Products were added to the VLSC website for download on October 28th, 2012- this is the made available date.  The end result is; if you had active SA on October 2012, you were given rights to use the corresponding 2013 version of Office or Office Server Products because they were made available during the time of your active SA coverage.   

The next question you may have is, “Do I have to renew SA to receive the “New Version Rights for Software Assurance?” Although you may choose to renew SA coverage at your next opportunity, if you choose not to renew and if your SA was active on your perpetual license as covered above –
you have perpetual rights* to the New Product Version. You have the right to upgrade and use the New Product Version immediately, or wait till a later date to do so even if your SA coverage expires. What matters is that you were covered with active SA at the time the New Product Version was made available.

(*Note- as long as they have a perpetual Agreement type and not a subscription agreement where the licenses are provided for the duration of the subscription but have no perpetual use rights associated)

Inevitably, the next question that comes our way is, “How do I tell when these Products were added to the VLSC website?”  In all cases, you should refer to the Product List.  Above is an example of the Product List. The first part of the Product List contains a table, which among other things,
lists the made available date for all Products.  As highlighted above, the date available for Access 2013 and Excel 2013 is 10/12 – which in this case, indicates the Products were added to the VLSC in October 2012. 

Note that in some cases instead of New Product Versions, products are discontinued, rolled into another product, or have a change in license model and, in most cases – you are given access to the replacement product version, or the new license model via your SA benefits. You should always consult the Product List for a detailed explanation of any changes that may affect a Product you have licensed under Software Assurance.

In closing, “New Version Rights for Software Assurance” rights are given to you when the Product is made available for sale on the Price List, or when the Product is added to the VLSC website – whichever comes first.  If you do not have access to the VLSC to check when a Product was added, you can refer to the Product List as shown in the example above.

New version rights are one facet to the broad range of benefits Software Assurance provides. The range of benefits serve multiple areas of your business through the lifecycle of your software investments including access to technology/capabilities only offered through Software Assurance such as License Mobility, Windows Thin PC, spread payments, and Companion Subscription License.

For more information on Software Assurance please visit the Microsoft Software Assurance website where you’ll find handy reference tools such as this interactive SA Benefits chart.

This is one scenario, and licensing situation. Each customer scenario can vary by deployment, usage, product version, and product use rights.  Always check your contract, and the current Products Use Rights document to confirm how your environment should be fully licensed.  The blogging team does not warrant that this scenario will be the right licensing solution for other similar cases.

Comments (7)

  1. Tyler Price says:

    Great news…a huge help for quick reference.

  2. Larry says:

    I bought Win SBS Premium 2003 R2 with SA in Aug of 2009 and shortly thereafter was able to get Win 2008 SBS Premium because of SA. Win SBS Premium 2008 R2  came out in Aug of 2009. I checked today about getting 2008 R2. They said that because I don't currently have SA because it expired in Aug 2010 I would not be able to get R2. I should have gotten it before Aug 2010.

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