Monday, 6 October 2008

Microsoft SPLA - Huge changes happening

From the Microsoft Hosting Partner Community Newsletter verbatim:

Announcing the Launch of a New Version of SPLA
Beginning October 1st, a new version of the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) will launch. There are several changes under the new version and we are highlighting the main points here. Please refer to the SPLA section within the Microsoft Partner Portal for more details.

SPLA version 2008 Agreement Launch Details
1. SPLA Agreement Moving Under the MBSA
2. Downloads available to all SPLA partners
3. Three-year commitment offering to launch in early 2009

1. SPLA Moving Under the MBSA
- Beginning with SPLA 2008, the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) will be linked to a Microsoft Business and Services Agreement (MBSA/MBA). The MBSA/MBA is a perpetual agreement between the customer and Microsoft that contains high-level terms and conditions that are applicable to all agreements signed under it.

- SPLA partners who have an existing MBSA/MBA via another Volume Licensing agreement (EA, ESA, Select Plus, Select, or ISV) should work with their Account Manager and/or reseller to link the MBSA/MBA to their SPLA agreement. You will simply need to provide your MBSA/MBA number the next time you sign a SPLA agreement.

- SPLA partners without an existing MBSA/MBA will be required to sign one the next time you sign a SPLA agreement. The MBSA will automatically be included in your next SPLA packet.

- MBSA/MBA offers evergreen terms and conditions

- Once an MBSA is in place SPLA partners will only need to sign a shorter and simplified SPLA agreement every 3 years

- Partners can use existing MBSA/MBAs - simple process to link to SPLA

- It will be easier to acquire the required support from Microsoft as the MBSA includes the ability to purchase Premier and Professional support

- The MBSA/MBA can be used for additional purchasing opportunities with Microsoft

2. Downloads available to all SPLA partners
- Beginning October 23rd, all SPLA partners will have the ability to download products via the Microsoft Volume Licensing Services (MVLS) site as an alternative to purchasing media from the pricelist. SPLA partners will receive a welcome communication (via email) which will provide instructions on how to set up an account and access MVLS. This communication will be sent to your "notices" contact and 'electronic notices' contact identified on your SPLA agreement.

- No-cost option for media
- No longer have to wait for media to be delivered - download option also makes products available closer to the time of launch
- MVLS currently supports 24 languages

SPLA Partner Guidance for Using MVLS
- SPLA partners are free to explore the site but should be aware that MVLS has not yet been modified for SPLA partner usage - the main functionality being delivered today is the ability to access downloaded media.

- Things to be aware of:

* SPLA agreement will not be displayed on the MLS (Microsoft Licensing Statement) however, the agreement detail will be available on MVLS (please note that it has not been customized specifically for SPLA partners).

* Volume License Keys will not be available in MVLS. SPLA partners will continue to contact the Call Center for their Volume License keys.

- A guide for partners (including screenshots) will be posted on the MSPP SPLA page - 'Training Resources' tab on or after Oct 1st.

3. 3-year commitment offering to launch in early 2009
- The 3-year commitment offering will feature the addition of SKUs that will allow service providers to commit up-front to licenses for certain products and receive a 12% discount - with no minimum purchase quantity required.

- Partners can combine 3-year commitment and monthly SKUs purchases within the same SPLA agreement.

- 3-year commitment offering is billed with up-front annual payments; there are no true-ups or true-downs.

- This 3-year commitment offer will be available in early 2009; more information will be presented prior to the availability of this offer.

- Great option for SPLA partners with stable infrastructures, long-term commitments with customers and/or the ability to pay up front each year.

SPLA Changes to Align with Microsoft Online Services
Additionally, on July 8 2008, Microsoft announced there will be changes to SPLA, as highlighted at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, to bring pricing and use rights in line with Microsoft Online Services. This will enable valued SPLA partners to deliver similar offerings, while differentiating their services to meet the diverse needs of customers. In anticipation to the upcoming launch of the Microsoft Online Services in the United States here is an overview of the changes being made to the SPLA program.

What's Changing:
- A business productivity suite subscriber access license (SAL) will be added to the SPLA to provide an equivalent to the Microsoft Online Services Suite offering. The new SAL will include:

* Exchange Standard

* Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) Standard

* Office Communications Server (OCS) Standard

* Live Meeting Standard

- A discounted SAL for Software Assurance (SA) will be added to allow purchasing of discounted SPLA SALs if end customer owns Software Assurance on server Client Access Licenses (CALs ) in Volume Licensing (VL).

- Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) network protocol will be included in the Exchange Standard SKU. Now Exchange Standard includes MAPI functionality, whereas before Standard Plus or Enterprise Plus were required for full MAPI functionality even if the end customer had Outlook. As a result the following restriction text will be removed from the SPUR:

"Restriction on use. Only users for whom you obtain an Exchange Server 2007 Hosted Exchange Standard plus SAL or Exchange Server 2007 Hosted Exchange Enterprise Plus SAL may use the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) network protocol to access and use the server software."

- Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) Standard, Office Communication Server Standard, and Office Communication Server Enterprise SAL will be discounted.

If you have a direct agreement with Microsoft, please contact your Microsoft Account Manager for details. If you have an indirect agreement, please contact your SPLA reseller for additional details or questions.

There is a lot to digest here folks. Take the time to read through and get in touch with your SPLA contact to get any further questions answered.

And, for those of us who had Ingram Micro Canada as our primary SPLA contact, we are even further out of touch as our SPLA contact there bailed a while back and everything has been up in the air with them since then. :(

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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