Microsoft Plans Fix For Licensing Portal Glitches

In a post last week to Microsoft's Small Business Community blog, Eric Ligman, global partner experience lead in Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, described changes in the upcoming VLSC 3.5 update that improve site navigation and make it easier for partners to find what they're looking for.

Fixes are also coming for permissions and registration issues with the VLSC site, which have been causing major headaches for Microsoft solution providers.

In VLSC 3.5, Microsoft is adding a "Manage on behalf of" capability for VARs that have traditionally handled the ins and outs of Open License agreements for their customers. This gives VARs the ability to obtain product keys, download software and manage their customers' Software Assurance benefits, Ligman said in the blog post.

VLSC 3.5 also features an improved navigation bar that prominently displays the 'Download product media" and "Access license keys" options, which were difficult to find in the design of the previous VLSC portal. Microsoft is also changing VLSC product key management to give users a link to download all product keys to a local file directly from VLSC, making them accessible offline.

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In December, a faulty VLSC upgrade took down the site for more than a week and caused angry VARs to flood Microsoft's telephone lines with product activation requests. Customers also ran into trouble when trying to download media from Microsoft, along with registration headaches and numerous other glitches.

Microsoft acknowledged the issues in January and attributed them to its integration of multiple partner and customer volume licensing Web sites into the VLSC.

Microsoft then went into feedback gathering mode, fanning out to partners to identify areas of VLSC pain as well as potential improvement. By implementing all this into the forthcoming VLSC update, Microsoft hopes to fix the issues once and for all and give partners and customers a clean, well-lit place for accessing licensing information.