OEM, FPP (Retail) or OLP (Open License) – Which is suitable for you?

There are 3 common types of licensing by Microsoft – OEM, FPP and OLP. Here are the differences with pros and cons of each. Do feel free to ask questions if you have any through our contact form. Our team would be happy to help you choose which software is suitable for you or your organization.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer

Most major computer or notebook vendor such as Lenovo and HP will bundle operating system license together with their products. This ‘bundled’ license is called OEM. Clone PCs will require users to purchase the ‘OEM’ license at the same time when purchasing a new ‘do-it-yourself’ PC (clone PC).

Technically, customers are not allowed to purchase OEM licenses without purchasing a new PC or notebook together. However, customers may purchase OEM Microsoft Office license within 60 days of purchase of a new PC or notebook.

Pros:

– OEM Licenses are the cheapest among the licenses.

Cons:

– Licenses cannot be transferred between computers. If the computer is discarded, the license will have to be discarded as well.

FPP – Full Pack (or Retail Pack)

Full Pack (FPP) is usually available in a ‘shrink-wrapped’ box that is available ‘over the counter’ for individual purchase. Customers can buy these licenses individually. Typically, this license is required to legalize an ‘unlicensed’ PC or notebook that is more than 60 days old. This is the most expensive form of licensing and only recommended for users who require less than 5 units of licenses.

Pros:

– Legalize and authorize unlicensed (pirated) software;
– Available in single units;
– Licensed to use in an existing PC that does not have any prior license;
– Licenses can be transferred in 90 days.

Cons:

– Costs about double the price of an OEM license.

OLP – Open License / Value License / Volume License

Available only with a minimum of 5 units Open License on first purchase. This can be a mix of different products. The license is perpetual (no expiry) and belongs to the company, not the computer or notebook. Therefore it is transferable between PCs and even between companies.

Pros:

– License can be transferred from old PCs to new PCs (with no version upgrade). Therefore, newly purchased PCs does not require the purchase of new OEM licenses;
– Makes licensing management easier paper license instead of physically handling large volume of CDs and booklets.

Cons:

– Costs almost double than OEM;
– Licenses are perpetual but users are stuck with the same version ‘forever’ even after new versions and updates are released. This can be avoided by purchasing ‘Software Assurance’ which is renewed annually.

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