Microsoft announced on Friday that it will stop selling new Select licenses from 1 July, 2011. Customers with existing agreements can renew them for another 36 months, as per their agreements, but the replacement Select Plus program is likely to be a better option. Microsoft launched Select Plus on 1 July 2008, and I wrote at the time that it was an improvement on the basic Select structure: Microsoft Simplifies Its Volume Licensing.
However, Microsoft's pricing team struggled to persuade its LARs to promote Select Plus over the more familiar Select agreement, and customer adoption was disappointing. So the decision to drop the older program makes sense for Microsoft, because it will force its channel partners to embrace the new model. And its no bad thing for buyers – you've one less choice to make, and there's little negative impact.
The biggest advantage of Select Plus for sourcing managers is that they no longer need to submit a three-year spending forecast – this is extremely difficult for central teams buying on behalf of autonomous business units that won't havent planned Microsoft technology adoption that far out. Instead, pricing works like an airline loyalty program, on the current and previous years' actual transactions, as the figure below from my report illustrates. My report explains some more advantages, such as the flexibility to opt tactically for software assurance on individual purchases.
Anyone with a Select agreement expiring in the next three months should seriously consider upgrading it to Select Plus. You can still renew the Select, but it probably makes sense to switch now. Those with Select agreements ending after June 2010 have longer to make the decision, but can upgrade earlier if they want to. That might make sense if you're not going to achieve your current forecast, or have multiple contracts that you'd like to aggregate into one.
Select Plus Price Tier Is Based On Historic Actual Volumes