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Microsoft To Update Licensing Portal in April

Eric Ligman, global partner experience lead for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, explained in a Tuesday blog post that version 3.5 of the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) will be available sometime next month. The VLSC is a Web portal for Microsoft's volume licensing partners and customers to get product keys, download Microsoft's software and manage user account access.

In April, Microsoft will include an "Add Open License" feature to the VLSC site that provides some flexibility for Microsoft's partners. Microsoft redesigned the VLSC site in December (then at version 3.0) to provide a single portal that can be accessed both by customers and partners. Microsoft also tightened security at that time, and now customers must approve partner access to their accounts.

The Add Open License feature will help facilitate partner account access, without the customer having to specify administrator permissions for that partner.

"With the release of the 'Add Open License' functionality, we are providing a way for a Partner that has been authorized by the customer to manage the license on their behalf to go into VLSC and accomplish this proactively while still providing control to the customer," a Microsoft spokesperson explained via e-mail.

VLSC 3.5 will have several site navigation updates, including a rearrangement of some top menu controls in response to user feedback. Another feature will be the ability of users to download all product keys to a local file, allowing offline access.

If there is some delay in accessing product keys on the VLSC 3.5 portal, users can select an option in a dialog box to be notified by e-mail when the keys are available. This feature works "when product key requests take longer than 20 seconds to return for companies with large quantities of product keys," Ligman explained in the blog.

Although Microsoft has not said exactly when VLSC 3.5 will be available next month, Ligman noted that partner training resources on VLSC "will be available in localized language form starting April 4."

Microsoft's VLSC redesign in December caused havoc for many of Microsoft's volume licensing customers and partners, who described "a nightmare" in trying to gain access to products and phone support. Those issues are less acute today, according to the Microsoft spokesperson.

"At this time, most partners and customers are accessing the site to track, manage and use their license benefits without issue," the spokesperson said.

Microsoft now requires that the original e-mail address that was first used to sign up for the VLSC account be maintained for all VLSC transactions. That change in procedure, which was done largely for security reasons, tripped up many of the site's users.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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