What is CSP? Time to refresh your Microsoft License Program! | Article – HSBC VisionGo

Microsoft’s “Open License Program” will end on January 1, 2022.
Technology  ·    ·  4 mins read

Open License

What is Cloud Solution Provider? Time to refresh your Microsoft License Program! 

Microsoft Open License To End Next Year

Microsoft’s “Open License Program” will end on January 1, 2022. The last day for commercial, education, non-profit organizations, and government customers to purchase or renew an Open License is December 31, 2021. Not only for business customers but also for education, non-profit organizations, and the government. So as the software assurance or online services.

 In 2022, Microsoft is selling a perpetual license transfer on her cloud solutions provider (CSP) Portal after abandoning the open licensing program.  Microsoft offers an “Open Value Program” to CSP partners. They are able to sell perpetual licenses to organizations under different programs and provide Software Assurance (SA) purchase options. Please be noted this “Open Value Subscription” program doesn’t provide a permanent license. The phrase “perpetual license” refers to the purchase of a license once, and the right to use it does not expire. It is in contrast to subscription-based licenses, where licenses are sold on a monthly or yearly basis, and if the license is not renewed, the right to use is terminated.

Key dates and milestones on the modification:

Open License

There are three main types of Microsoft license purchases: open licenses, open value, and enterprise agreements.

Open license

Microsoft Open License is the most direct way to purchase a license, you only need to purchase a license in advance and own it forever. It offers an optional Software Assurance function. If you have the money to buy a license and the number of licenses purchased is small, an open license is an ideal choice. Pricing depends on the type of organization you are in. The different organizational pricing tiers include Charity/non-profit, business license,  government, education, Health Organization.

Perpetual software in CSP

Newly launched in July 2020. Perpetual software gives Open partners and Indirect Resellers an expanded portfolio in CSP. Partners can transact the same Open licenses now as Perpetual licenses (one-time billing purchase) through Cloud Marketplace. The cost of the license is paid in three years, after which you have the license. Including Software Assurance. Unlike Open License, the pricing of Open Value does not depend on the type of organization.

Enterprise Agreement

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is a program for large companies that need to purchase more than 250 licenses at a time. This allows companies to access volume licenses at an affordable price, and the price of each license is significantly lower than the price of purchasing a single license. Software Assurance can also be added to an enterprise agreement license but at an additional cost.

Microsoft Open License


After the Microsoft Open License end, the recommended process order are:

  • If you get online services through the Open License program:
  1. Any unused online service token can still be allocated and used, even after December 31, 2021, as long as it occurs within the five-year period of the token purchase.
  2. You can work with partners in the cloud solution provider program if you want to purchase additional online service subscriptions. From the Microsoft Store Token, you can purchase additional online services through the Open Value Plan or Open Value Subscription Plan too.

  • If you get Software Assurance through the Open License program:
  1. Your Software Assurance period (including benefits) will last until expiration, even if it expires after December 31, 2021.
  2. For future purchases including Software Assurance, the Microsoft Open Value plan is recommended.
  3. The Microsoft Open Value Subscription Plan does not provide perpetual software licenses. It is a lower-cost subscription that allows you to use the software during the term of the agreement and also includes Software Assurance.

  • If you only purchase a perpetual software license (no Software Assurance) and want to continue to do so:
  1. Purchase perpetual software licenses from qualified partners participating in the Cloud Solution Provider Program. If you are evaluating online services and looking for value-added solutions, these partners will also provide guidance and provide the flexibility needed to meet your hybrid use needs through software licenses and cloud services. Contact your software reseller to find out if they are a cloud solution provider or looking for a partner.

Impacts on the modification:


Microsoft – As the growth factor of Microsoft mostly comes from Cloud products, she now can drive more cloud business and related services through CSP after open volume license end. 


Simplifying the input of order procedures to Microsoft. 

Currently, those distributors who are serving all Microsoft Indirect Resellers own the responsibility of processing the orders from indirect resellers to Microsoft. This is the traditional practice of IT distribution channels. With the change to CSP Platform, the value of distributors will be from order processing to provision of the marketplace. 

Significance of assistance to Indirect Reseller especially experienced will be not as noticeable as before. 

Indirect Reseller:

More workloads and responsibility to Indirect Resellers

Resellers now are placing orders to distributors in form of their own format of Purchase Order (in electronic format, most likely in pdf, or email confirmation, think that now rarely sending the PO by fax). By moving to CSP, procurement personnel of Indirect Resellers will bear the workload which Distributors previously provide,  and need to get familiar with CSP order processing. 


Think that end-users will be indifferent if the change to CSP maintains the price level and services from a reseller. 

Regardless of the Price change from Open License to CSP, the end-user will need to shift to Microsoft 365 Admin Center (MAC) from volume license service center (VLSC).

For Education and Non Profit end users, think that their current and future tendency will move on CSP subscription license. While Hong Kong Government users will still need perpetual licenses thru CSP and Software Assurance from Open Value.


As up to date, there are no clear pictures of order processing on this new CSP Platform between all respective parties, a detailed briefing, and announcement from Microsoft will be expected. 

Training to Procurement personnel of Indirect Resellers will be needed, and detailed briefing and/or expertise assistance for this license change to Salesforce of Indirect Resellers.

The incentive to CSP Indirect Resellers: Actually they devote the probably same effort and resources to a new platform in comparison with direct resellers, perhaps vendor/distributors may consider this to encourage and speed up the transition. 


Microsoft offers a variety of license purchase options to help organizations of all sizes in a reliable and scalable way to access Microsoft Office. Whether your organization is selected in advance to pay licensing fees or require a subscription license, there are many options to help you access the required software. To learn more about the options, please contact our professional Microsoft licensing experts, we would provide you the best solution.

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