Microsoft is set to revamp its Volume Licensing (VL) structure in an effort to appease partners and make it easier for them to do business.
Currently, Microsoft's VL programmes are divided up based on the customer organisation's type and size, but following the impending overhaul, just one VL agreement will be available regardless of the previous criteria.
Over the last year, the vendor has been carrying out a pilot of the scheme, and is now ready to roll it out more widely as part of what it claims is its transition to becoming a devices and services company.
As part of the overhaul VL programme, just one contract - a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) - will be available to partners. The vendor insists the new MPSA will reflect all customer organisations' needs and will streamline procurement for a better customer and partner experience.
On top of this, Microsoft said that having a one-size-fits-all contract will mean just one deal has to be signed, resulting in fewer hoops to bisect and fewer pages of terms and conditions to trawl through.
The overhaul will also see new online tools available to partners in order to make payments, purchase history and asset viewing easier.
Following the pilot scheme over the last year, starting this month, the MPSA will become more broadly available in the UK, Germany, Canada and the US. To begin with, the MPSA will focus on medium-size companies.
Microsoft insisted the move was based on partner feedback and said those involved in the pilot had been happy with the MPSA.
"Based on a comprehensive pilot programne during the past year, feedback from our customers and partners has been invaluable as we bring our vision for volume licensing into reality," it said in a note to partners. "Initial impressions have been very positive."
Richard Gibbons, software manager at reseller Bechtle said that Microsoft's VL overhaul is a step in the right direction.
"Simplifying the overall structure and making it easier to manage on a day-to-day basis are two key things that most, if not all, Microsoft customers ask for, so this is definitely a move in the right direction," he said on his blog.
"It isn't going to solve all the problems on day one - this is the first comprehensive, overall change to the volume licensing structure since the days Ballmer (pictured with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop) had hair so it's going to be a long process - but I really do think this signifies a big change within Microsoft."
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