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Valuation of Discount Options in Software License Agreements


  • Daniel Gull



Many companies increasingly rely on licensed standard software for system software and applications. In addition to the regulation of usage conditions, software licensing agreements increasingly include services, such as software upgrades and user training, as a part of the contract or these are optional for a fee, which can be made use of by the licensee during the term of the contract at a reduced price or as a free service. This benefit entitlement is called a discount option and must be valued during the selection and designing of a contract. This paper describes the basic valuation issues as well as some weaknesses of previous approaches, and subsequently presents a model which, on the basis of the real option theory, enables an assessment of the discount options using mathematical methods. As the value of discount options can in many cases only be estimated by using analytical methods under certain conditions, a practical solution method is explained on the basis of numeric backwards induction. The procedure for applying the model and the achieved advances in knowledge are illustrated with an example. Copyright Gabler Verlag 2011

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Gull, 2011. "Valuation of Discount Options in Software License Agreements," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 3(4), pages 221-230, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:binfse:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:221-230
    DOI: 10.1007/s12599-011-0170-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Gamba & Nicola Fusari, 2009. "Valuing Modularity as a Real Option," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(11), pages 1877-1896, November.
    2. Thomas Mertens, 2005. "Option pricing with sparse grids," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 449, Society for Computational Economics.
    3. Bjørn Eraker, 2004. "Do Stock Prices and Volatility Jump? Reconciling Evidence from Spot and Option Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1367-1404, June.
    4. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    5. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
    6. Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 2001. "Valuing American Options by Simulation: A Simple Least-Squares Approach," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt43n1k4jb, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
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