Microsoft License Advisor Website Useless – Unless Using IE

Microsoft Volume Licensing describes a program for organizations that need multiple Microsoft product licenses but, unlike a home user, they do not need multiple copies of the software media and the documentation that comes with the software. Typically, Volume Licensing is a more cost effective method for large businesses to buy licenses for hundreds (or thousands) of computers at a time.

It does save businesses money but the complexity of Microsoft Volume Licensing is of legendary needle/haystack proportions. So much so that the Microsoft License Advisor website is needed – available here. Anyone can use it to research Volume Licensing products, programs and pricing – and it offers full quotations for your chosen options.

I say ‘anyone can use it’ but that is not true – if you visit the Microsoft License Advisor website on Internet Explorer it works fine, but if you dare visit with another browser such as Chrome or Firefox, the site doesn’t work at all. Using a browser other than IE displays the webpage in a corrupted format – you can’t choose your country/region or language so they default to United States and English.

You may be thinking ‘that would have been my choice anyway’ but you’re still out of luck because none of the other fields on the web form work either – so you can’t get any info or quote. There is nothing on the Microsoft License Advisor website to indicate that you must use IE and, even worse, there are no error messages giving any clue to the problem – the site just doesn’t work.

For a company like Microsoft to design such a website to be incompatible with other web browsers is astounding – it must surely be a conscious decision to block non-IE visitors around the world from accessing it (without telling them why). And this is a website from a technology leader – designed to sell business visitors hundreds or thousands of very profitable Microsoft licenses, go figure!


Considering that IE global market share has dropped to below 50%, I wonder how many IT decision makers using other browsers have been put off by the failure of this website – and pursued other options?

I have previously written of my opinion that Microsoft has given up on IE but the License Advisor website seems an attempt to shore up IE support against the rise of Chrome etc. That is probably a lost cause anyway – but when it means losing potential customers, goodwill and business it is really unforgivable.

Contrast Microsoft’s intransigence with Google’s forward thinking in signing a huge new 3 year deal with Mozilla (the developers of Firefox) that effectively keeps their own rival in business. Google saw a chance to continue to make even more money and were happy to use Mozilla to do it…

3 thoughts on “Microsoft License Advisor Website Useless – Unless Using IE”

  1. Don’t worry – they’ve solved the problem now… It now pops up saying it works best with IE7 or later.

    My reaction when I saw it didn’t work was to basically not bother looking further. If MS can’t get a simple website right, can they get a complex Office package or Operating System right?

    • LOL I agree – they have ‘resolved’ it by adding a message “optimized for Internet Explorer 7
      and newer versions”. Optimized normally means works ‘better’ but it still doesn’t work AT ALL on FF/Chrome.

      Why don’t they just be honest and say “you must use IE” – or spend a few minutes redesigning the site so it works properly on modern browsers…

  2. Agreed. I’m trying to manage MSDN licensing and the site only works (barely!) using IE9. Doesn’t work with Chrome or Firefox at all, and only works with IE9 using compatibility mode.

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