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Windows 7 licenses and editions

Solutions providers should know about the different Windows 7 licenses and editions to ensure they are recommending the best option to customers.

Many different Windows 7 licenses and editions are available to customers, and it's essential for solutions providers to be knowledgeable on all of their associated costs and features. In this interview, SearchSystemsChannel.com Assistant Editor Pat Ouellette talks with experts Stephen Kolbe and Thomas Nieto of Analysis Enterprise Inc., who explain that researching the differences between Windows 7 licenses could mean hundreds of dollars in cost savings.

Pat Ouellette: Can you talk about the different Windows 7 licenses and editions available?

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Stephen Kolbe: There are three Windows 7 licenses -- OEM, retail and volume licensing -- cross-sectioned by six editions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

My recommendation for any solutions provider is that they take the time to research the functionality of the various editions. There is no substitute for knowledge in that category. It can mean the difference between a $199-per-station cost for software and $299-per-station cost for software.

Conversely, if the solutions provider offers an under-engineered solution, it could mean the difference between having the wrong software and having to eat the cost of repurchasing Windows 7 licenses across the board.

We like Windows 7 volume licensing because it offers solutions providers with generally 60 days to undo and redo if necessary or address any inconsistencies that appear. Also, downgrade rights are granted with volume licensing. So, if you have Windows 7 implementation across the board, and for some reason you need to have a couple Vista or XP computers out there, you get the downgrade rights with volume licensing, which is not the case with OEM and retail.

Thomas Nieto: The other benefit of enterprise licensing to volume licensing is from an asset management standpoint. I don't have to maintain 30 boxes for all of the retail software to ensure that I maintain compliance by keeping copies of the end user license agreement, the software kit and the stickers. And the enterprise license gives you the ability to just go online and look at the Windows 7 license. Enterprise licenses are a lot simpler for asset management.

About the experts
Steve Kolbe founded Analysis Enterprise Inc. in 1995 and is the president and CEO of the company. Kolbe has received awards such as Smart CEO's 2008 Smart 100, 2009 Circle of Excellence Winner for excellence in customer service and the Entrepreneur's Exchange 2010 Entrepreneur of The Year. He has also served as an advisor on various technology, educational and local boards and committees, including The Baltimore County Executive Advisory Board for Higher Education.

Thomas Nieto is a Microsoft accredited professional and the Director of Strategic Consulting Services for Analysis Enterprise Inc. Nieto presently oversees strategic planning for clients and directs a team of consultants engaged in projects, project management and consulting services. Prior to his present role, Nieto was the IT Director for Santé Group.

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