Why is buying a licence so complicated

I don’t think I’m letting out any secrets when I say that it can be complicated to buy software – there are so many different licensing schemes from so many different suppliers. And so it can sometimes be easy to get tripped up by the process. I know that people are looking for easier answers – last year’s blog post “How to get the best deal on Microsoft software” is one of the most read.

So I asked one of our licensing team to help me write a simple English guide – how to work out when your licensing agreement has been setup properly (it all revolves around virtual ‘paperwork’):

Do you know what “paperwork” you should receive from Microsoft when you sign a Microsoft Select or School Agreement?

Once you have completed your Microsoft Select or School Agreement and sent them to your Microsoft Authorised Education reseller, they will then send them to our Operations Centre in Ireland to be processed.

At this point Microsoft send you, by email, an Acceptance Letter, an MVLS* Invitation Letter and an Order Confirmation - usually within a week of acceptance of your agreement.  This information will be sent directly via email to the nominated “notices contact” that you elected when signing your agreement. 

 * MVLS= Microsoft Volume Licensing Services. It’s the website where you can activate your licences, download other resources, and activate your Software Assurance Benefits.

It also details the following information:

  • Unique agreement number
  • Effective Date
  • Expiry Date
  • Your institution’s unique Volume Licensing Product Activation keys

If you want to track details of your Microsoft Licence purchases or obtain Product Activation keys then you should log onto the MVLS web site at https://licensing.microsoft.com/eLicense/L1033/Default.asp

Equally importantly, you use MVLS to get your Software Assurance benefits. Microsoft Software Assurance gives you the right to upgrade licenses software during the agreement term and includes a suite of additional benefits like training, support etc Software Assurance is optional for Select Licence customers but is automatically included with all School Agreements.


If you start a new licensing agreement, and for some reason you haven’t received the acceptance emails etc, then contact your Microsoft reseller (sometimes it’ll be because the paperwork hasn’t reached our Operations Centre – and that isn’t always our fault)

Comments (0)

Skip to main content