Picking up Nickels

Friday, February 02, 2007

An affordable Microsoft software subscription for small business

As a self-employed IT consultant, part of my job is to be up to speed with the latest and greatest software and hardware from a variety of vendors. While I take full advantage of the free enterprise-level Linux software and resources out there (CentOS is my current favorite distro), similar access to Microsoft Corp software isn't as readily available.

I did find a nice solution to the Microsoft issue a few years ago by subscribing to the Microsoft Action Pack. The Microsoft Action Pack Subscription is available exclusively to consultants, value-added resellers, value-added providers, system integrators, developers, system builders, hosts, and service providers who are enrolled as Registered Members in the Microsoft Partner Program and who distribute or influence the acquisition of Microsoft software and Microsoft-based solutions by end customers.

This subscription includes licenses for a variety of Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows XP or Vista, and a variety of Windows server products (see a full list here). Please note that the software included with the subscription can be used for internal business use, testing, evaluation, demonstration, training, and education only.

Although the cost of the Action Pack annual subscription has increased over the past couple of years (I paid about $300 for my annual renewal in 2006), it is still an affordable way for a small business to obtain legitimate copies of Microsoft software. The annual fee includes an initial Welcome Kit plus four quarterly updates, and I just received my latest quarterly update this week. The highlights of the latest shipment were the just-released Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Windows Vista Business products. Now I just need some decent hardware to run this stuff on...

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