Hi, Log On or Create Account

Log On

Need Help?

Sales Assistance

800.800.4239 Mon-Fri 7am-7:30pm CT

Answer within 24 hours.

Products Solutions & Services Account Center
More search options

Software Management > Software Licensing Center > Software Licensing Glossary

Software Licensing Center

P Q R S T U V W X y Z


Applications software: A program designed for end users that includes database programs, word processors, and spreadsheets. These programs are unable to run without the operating system and system utilities.


CAL (client access license): The companion to a server license, a CAL must be acquired for every authenticated user on a network. The CAL allows a client application that runs on a personal computer or workstation to access a server and its program(s) to perform operations on the local computer.

Company-wide Option: As a part of Microsoft®’s licensing program, the Company-wide Option offers savings of up to 10 percent by licensing all qualifying desktops with any of several Enterprise products: Microsoft Windows® Professional Desktop, Microsoft Office Professional, Microsoft Core CAL.

Competitive upgrade: The ability to migrate from one competing software title to the most current software title of another software manufacturer.

Concurrent licensing, concurrent use or concurrency: A license allowing a specific number of users to access the software at any given time. See also Per Server Licensing.

Contractual license program (CLP): A situation where discounted pricing is available based upon a commitment to purchase a designated volume of software within a specific time period, typically two years.

Core CAL (core client access license): As a part of Microsoft’s licensing program, Core CAL offers a package license of basic server components across desktop computers, including Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Systems Management Server, and Microsoft SharePoint™ Portal Server. The Core CAL replaced the BackOffice Server CAL and confers the same platform discounts and benefits of the BackOffice Server CAL.

Crossgrade: The ability to migrate from one manufacturer software title to another software title of that same manufacturer.


Database (DB):
An application that colletcts and organizes information so that users can find select pieces of data. Similar to an electronic filing system.


End user license agreement (EULA):
a legal contract between a software application author or publisher and the user of that application. The EULA is similar to a rental agreement; the user agrees to pay for the privilege of using the software, and promises the software author or publisher to comply with all restrictions stated in the EULA. The user is asked to indicate they that "accept" the terms of the EULA by opening the shrink wrap on the application package, breaking the seal on the CD case, sending a card back to the software publisher, installing the application, executing a downloadable file, or by simply using the application. The user can refuse to enter into the agreement by returning the software product for a refund or clicking "I do not accept" when prompted to accept the EULA during an install. See also license.
Enterprise Agreement (EA): A Microsoft licensing agreement under which a customer and its qualified affiliates, with certain larger numbers of machines (usually 250 or more), may standardize on one or more of the Microsoft Platform Enterprise Products at discounted prices based on a 3-year agreement term.

Enterprise Software Advisor (ESA): An entity, which Microsoft authorizes and a customer engages, to provide pre- and post-sales assistance under the Enterprise Agreement and Enterprise Subscription Agreement.


An estimation of the number of users for which an organization will need to acquire software licenses over a period of time, usually two years. This is used to calculate anticipated volume discounts at the beginning of a licensing agreement or to set minimum required orders for the length of the agreement.

Freeware: Software that is given away without charge. Unlike public domain software, freeware is copyrighted and users cannot do anything with the software that is not expressly allowed by the author, i.e. sell the software as their own.


A class of software that helps groups of colleagues (workgroups) attached to a local-area network organize their activities. Sometimes called workgroup productivity software.


The 25-digit code required to install many Microsoft programs.


Large Account Reseller (LAR):
A Microsoft designation given to CDW granting the right to sell Microsoft Select Licensing and EA.

Levels: The divisions between different price discounts as defined by a point range.

License: An agreement that allows an individual or group to use a piece of software. See also end user license agreement.


See upgrade protection.

Media: The method by which a software program is received, either CD, diskette or electronic download.

Media kit: A starter kit which typically includes one copy of software media and manual.


A Microsoft concept development framework that promises anytime, anywhere communication for businesses to use in everyday tasks and commerce by incorporating applications, a suite of tools and the Internet. From a software licensing perspective, .NET changes the way software is acquired: it will be rented as a hosted service over the Internet rather than purchased outright. Essentially, the Internet will house all applications and data for access anywhere. .NET is built on four Internet standards: HTTP, XML, SOAP and UDDI.

Network operating system: An operating system that connects computers and devices into a local-area network (LAN).

Node: A computer or some other device, such as a printer, that has a unique network address and serves as a processing location.


Open license program (OLP):
Provides discounted pricing based upon the highest volume software license purchased at predetermined discount levels.

Open Licensing: A Microsoft licensing agreement designed for organizations purchasing as few as five licenses.


PDF (portable document format):
A standard format for electronic documentation distribution that captures the formatting or look of a document but results a file that is independent of the program in which the original document was created. A proprietary format of Adobe, these files are viewable via the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Per Processor Licensing: As a part of Microsoft's licensing program, this is the need to have one processor license for every processor in the server being licensed. Only available for the following Microsoft products: ISA, SQL, Host Integration, Commerce, Biztalk, Application Center, Operations Manager and Content Manager servers.

Per seat licensing: Every user connecting to a licensed server requires a client access license (CAL). This license also allows access to any other licensed server within the network.

Per server licensing: Software licensing based on the number of machines hitting the server at one time. For example, if you have 100 machines but only 50 hit the server at any given time, only 50 client access licenses (CALs) are needed. Only 50 machines will be allowed to hit the server at one time. See also concurrent licensing.

Perpetual licensing: Once the license agreement expires, the customer still owns the most recent version of the product at the end of the agreement.

Piracy: The unlawful installation of a software program on a workstation or server.

Points: The number value assigned to a software title to determine eligibility for a discounted purchase price.

Pool: The number value assigned to a group of software titles to determine eligibility for a discounted purchase price.

Public domain software: Programs that are free, uncopyrighted and can be used without restrictions. This does not include freeware, free software that is copyrighted. See also freeware.


Readme file:
Usually found in the media when installing software, this text file typically contains extra information that was not included in the official documentation.


Select Licensing:
A Microsoft licensing agreement designed for organizations that have 250 or more desktops and are able to forecast software license acquisitions over a 3-year period.

Shareware: Software that is distributed and paid for via the honor system. Usually the software is delivered free of charge with the understanding that users will pay a small fee if they use it regularly. The fee entitles the user to receive service assistance and updates. Shareware can be copied and passed to other users, but they are also expected to pay a fee if they use the product. Shareware is copyrighted, unlike public domain software, meaning users cannot sell a shareware product as their own.

Shrink-wrap/boxed copy: CD, manuals and license provided in a retail box, typically a single-user license.

Site license: The right to purchase software for multiple locations based on one centralized agreement.

Software asset management (SAM): A proactive means of recording and maintaining software licenses across an organization.

Software Assurance: Microsoft’s newest version of software maintenance, options include two years of Open Licensing and one, two or three years of Select Licensing. Software Assurance is automatically included in EA. See also upgrade protection.

Subscription licensing: Licensing software per terms of a specified agreement. Once the terms of the agreement are completed, it must be renewed or the software must be removed. McAfee is one software company with a subscription program.

Systems software: The operating system and utility programs such as compilers, loaders, linkers and debuggers that manage computer resources at a low level.


Terminal Services:
Services used to access applications or data residing on the server.

TCO (total cost of ownership): A figure representing how much it actually costs to own a PC. Typically includes original cost of the computer and software; hardware and software upgrades; maintenance; technical support; and training.

Transactional license program (TLP): Provides discounted pricing based upon each individual software license purchase transaction at predetermined discount levels.


the act of switching from an older version to a newer version of the same software program. Most software companies sell upgrades at a discount over the full version to prevent current users from switching to competitors' products.

Upgrade insurance (UI): See upgrade protection.

Upgrade protection: Grants the license holder the right to receive new software version upgrades for a given time period (generally one or two years) for a discounted, prepaid price; also known as maintenance, software assurance or upgrade insurance.

User: Any person who runs an application program.


Version upgrade:
The ability to move from one software title to the next version release of that software title.

Volume license key (VLK): See keycode.

Volume license program (VLP): Formalized program that offers discounted pricing for software licenses purchased in volume.

^ Back to Top