Microsoft’s different bulk software licensing options provide a lot of flexibility for choosing the bulk license type that’s right for you. Depending on your business’ type, size, and limitations, the different purchasing models allow any business to get the bulk licenses for Microsoft Office they need. Microsoft Open License is a great licensing program option if you are a businesses, government organization, educational organization, healthcare organization, and non-profit/charity organization that wants to pay as you go. Because you pay for the licenses as you need them, you get maximum flexibility to grow with your organization’s increasing and changing business needs.

Open license comes with many advantages that other bulk licensing options don’t include. You can easily manage your licenses through online tracking tools, and you can electronically manage your license orders, review purchase history, download purchased software, obtain Volume License Keys (VLKs) to activate software, and track compliance through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Because you pay for licenses when you need them (rather than up front), you get maximum flexibility to grow with your organization’s increasing and changing needs. And finally, as with most volume licensing options, by buying in bulk you get volume discounts off the retail price of software product licenses.
Open license has different options for businesses, government organizations, educational organizations, healthcare organizations, and non-profit/charity organizations.


For small and medium sized businesses, Open License is an extremely flexible, affordable, and scalable option. You must buy a minimum of five licenses up front, but after that you can add licenses as you go. Software Assurance is also available in 2-year-commitement increments. For very large businesses, Enterprise Agreement is available.

Government Organizations

Open License for Government is available for small and medium sized government organizations around the world. There are pricing and eligibility requirements for Federal Government (civilian and Department of Defense), State & Local Government, Government Employees (home and office use), and International Government. Learn more about pricing and eligibility by speaking to one of our licensing specialist 877-292-7712.

Educational/Academic Organizations

Open License is available to academic organizations such as schools, teachers, administrative offices, boards of education, public libraries, and museums. There are two main licensing programs for academic organizations: subscription licensing and perpetual licensing.

Healthcare Organizations

Open License for Healthcare organizations is distributed depending on how the organization is set up: either commercial licensing for privately run health organizations, or government licensing for government-run institutions that provide health services; sets healthcare policy across a nation, state, or country; provides funding for health services, or has a regulatory role in health services. See the corresponding sections for commercial and government licensing for more information.

Non-Profit/Charity Organizations

Open License for Non-Profit and Charity organizations can purchase Microsoft Office licenses as they go, similar to small business licensing. You only need to obtain the packaged software once, as long as you purchase the number of licenses that you need. After the initial five order minimum, you can scale your licenses as you need them.

Microsoft Open License Details

With all types of Open License types, there is a required two-year agreement term with perpetual licenses, and you can open new agreement at any time. You must initially purchase five licenses minimum, but after that you can add more as you need them during the course of your agreement. Software Assurance is optional but available, and you can download software and licenses online, or order boxed media through a retailer.

Software Assurance Program

Software Assurance is available as an add on for Open License, and comes with the following features:

  • 24×7 support, deployment planning services, end-user and technical training, and the latest software releases and unique technologies.
  • Provides new software version releases automatically.
  • Windows 7 Enterprise Upgrade is the premium edition of Windows 7 Professional for businesses and is available exclusively to Microsoft Software Assurance customers.
  • The Home Use Program provides employees with the latest version of Microsoft Office for their home computer, via low-cost download.
  • 24×7 Problem Resolution Support.
  • Cold Backups for Disaster Recovery.

You must always pay for Software Assurance in two-year increments, regardless of when you purchased it. In cases where time has passed after the initiation of an Open License, it may be advantageous for you to open a new Open License to receive the most value from your Software Assurance purchase. A period of up to 90 days is allowed from the purchase of a full-packaged product (FPP) license in retail or from the purchase of a license from an OEM manufacturer to enroll that product in Software Assurance.


Two price levels are available in Open License programs for commercial customers. Customers need to purchase at least five licenses to qualify for the entry-level price. Microsoft offers an additional price point for organizations that purchase 500 points or more in a single product pool in their initial order.
Open License Agreements have a two-year agreement term. At the end of your two-year agreement, you must sign another Open License agreement to renew Software Assurance coverage. A new Open License Agreement is opened automatically if your order does not reference an existing authorization number.
Media is available for download free of charge from the VLSC. If physical media is needed, you can obtain it for a fee from Microsoft Worldwide Fulfillment. Physical media is also available for purchase by resellers in some regions.


Open License is one of the more flexible and scalable volume licensing options for Microsoft Office. Whether you’re a commercial business, government organization, educational organization, healthcare organization, or non-profit/charity organization, Open License can help work with stricter budgets and scaling needs.