Microsoft Volume Licensing Definition & Meaning

Microsoft Volume Licensing is a service provided by Microsoft for organizations that require multiple licenses but do not need multiple copies of the software media and documentation that comes with it. The aim of the volume license is to make it easier and more affordable to run Microsoft software on multiple computers within an organization. Microsoft products available for volume licensing include Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, and Teams.

For example, buying a boxed software, or a full-packaged product (FPP) may include additional components such as media, a user’s guide, and other packaging items. Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Program allows an organization to eliminate these unnecessary items and costs and create a more customized purchase option.

A volume license key (VLK) limits the organization to a fixed number of installations. It also records the number of installations, keeping the VLK confidential. If needed, the organization may be subject to a software licensing audit to ensure compliance with the terms of agreement.

Buying considerations for Microsoft Volume Licensing

Microsoft advises organizations to considers three main areas before purchasing:

  • Size and type of organization
  • The Microsoft products desired
  • How the products will be used

With this information at hand, Microsoft can tailor the program to meet the needs of specific industries such as education, healthcare, charities, manufacturers, and government entities.

Microsoft Volume Licensing for small businesses

For smaller organizations, these licensing options provide a flexible and cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft products:

  • Open Value: Optimal for organizations wanting to standardize their IT infrastructure and maximize investment.
  • Open Value Subscription: Optimal for organizations wanting lower up-front costs and the ability to increase or decrease license count on an annual basis.
  • Open License: Optimal for organizations wanting to use the software immediately and use the pay-as-you-go model.

Microsoft Volume Licensing for midsize and large businesses

For larger businesses, these licensing options help support IT infrastructure and simplify software license management:

  • Select: The newest Microsoft technology can be acquired through a pay-as-you-go model. License needs are forecasted over a three-year period.
  • Select Plus: The newest Microsoft technology can be acquired through a pay-as-you-go model, and software licenses and services can be acquired by business unit. The agreement never expires and has an optional 36 months of Software Assurance.
  • Enterprise Agreement: Provides costs savings and helps a large business standardize their IT.
  • Enterprise Subscription Agreement: Includes all the benefits of the enterprise agreement with lower up-front costs and additional flexibility.

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Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes is a newly-graduated writer and editor for websites such as,, and When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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