Private Azure Marketplace

Microsoft announce the public preview of the Private Azure Marketplace.

This tenant level feature is built on top of the Azure Marketplace and enables an administrator to add apps from the Azure Marketplace into the Private Azure Marketplace that comply with their organisation’s policies and standards thus making it easy for users to deploy these pre-approved apps within the organisation.

Note that Microsoft apps are automatically added to the Private Azure Marketplace.

Find the announcement here:, and instructions on setting up the Private Azure Marketplace here:

SharePoint Syntex

Microsoft announce that SharePoint Syntex is available from 1 October 2020. This is the first product from Project Cortex, an initiative designed to use AI to automatically organise content.

Users can train Syntex to read content the way they do, and advanced AI in the product captures and tags both structured and unstructured content, with the objective of meeting the product’s tagline – to transform content into knowledge.

Every user using the services of SharePoint Syntex needs to be licensed, which is via a $5 per user per month Add-on to Microsoft 365 F1/F3/E3/A3/E5/A5 or Office 365 F3/E1/A1/E3/A3/E5/A5.

Find the announcement here:, the SharePoint Syntex page here:, and information on Project Cortex here:

15 ways to optimise your Azure costs

There are lots of different ways to optimise costs in Azure, but this list is great to remind you of the basics (Reservations, Azure Hybrid Benefit etc) as well as newer options specific to running SQL in Azure, or using Azure Backup solutions.

Find the full list here:

Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide

There’s an updated (October 2020) Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide.

It’s updated for new offers (Project Operations), new entitlements (Commerce and Customer Insights), and new additional capacity (Business Central). It’s also gone through some reformatting with a new cover and applications moved into alphabetical order, and it also now includes the Business Central and Mixed Reality offers.

Find this updated guide here:

Microsoft Teams Rooms

Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard and Premium Device SLs are added to the October 2020 Product Terms document.

Microsoft announced these products back in July 2020 when the Meeting Room licence was rebranded as the Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard offering, retaining its price of $15 per device per month, and the Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium offering was launched in certain countries for $50 per device per month.

This new offering contains all the licences included with Teams Rooms Standard (Teams, Skype for Business Online, Intune) and also incorporates a remote management service where Microsoft manage and monitor Microsoft Teams Rooms.

Find the original announcement here: and a useful product FAQ here:

Microsoft Defender

Microsoft announce that they are consolidating their threat protection products under the Microsoft Defender brand, delivering two experiences: Microsoft 365 Defender for end-user environments, and Azure Defender for cloud and hybrid infrastructures.

Microsoft 365 Defender prevents, detects and responds to threats across identities, endpoints, cloud apps, email and documents in end-user environments, and consists of the following rebranded products:

  • Microsoft 365 Defender (previously Microsoft Threat Protection)
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (previously Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection)
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (previously Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection)
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity (previously Azure Advanced Threat Protection)

Azure Defender delivers capabilities to protect multi-cloud and hybrid workloads including virtual machines, databases, containers and IoT, and is an evolution of the Azure Security Center threat protection capabilities, consisting of:

  • Azure Defender for Servers (previously Azure Security Center Standard Edition)
  • Azure Defender for IoT (previously Azure Security Center for IoT)
  • Azure Defender for SQL (previously Advanced Threat Protection for SQL)

To find out more, you can read the announcement here: or watch a video here:

Open soon to be Closed

Microsoft announce that customers won’t be able to make new purchases through an Open agreement after 31 December, 2021. So, what does that mean for existing customers?

Licences with no Software Assurance

  • Licences purchased through an Open agreement are perpetual and customers can continue to use these licences with no changes. New licences without SA can now be purchased through partners via the Cloud Solution Provider program

Licenses with Software Assurance

  • Existing SA benefits continue to be available until the end of existing agreements with no changes, and then SA can be renewed into a new or existing Open Value agreement

Subscriptions for Online Services

  • Existing subscriptions for services such as Office 365 can be renewed into a new or existing Open Value agreement or through CSP. If customers have purchased subscriptions in an Open agreement and not activated them, then they can still be activated without the need for any active agreements

Azure services

  • Pre-paid tokens are used to pay for Azure consumption services in the Open and Open Value agreements. A new Open Value non-Company Wide agreement can be signed by customers to purchase more tokens to power their existing Azure deployments without the need for any technical migrations

Read the announcement article for customers here: and, if you’re a partner, find more useful information for you here:

Microsoft productivity servers: the future

Microsoft announce that the next versions of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Skype for Business Server, and Project Server will be available in the second half of 2021.

What will be different is that they will only be available with the purchase of a subscription licence which will entitle organisations to support, product updates, and security patches.

There will also be a new perpetual release of Office for Windows and Mac in the same timeframe.

Find the announcement here:

Azure Cost Management course for Microsoft partners

There’s a new Azure Cost Management course for Microsoft partners available on Microsoft Learn, the free online training platform. Topics covered include cost management scopes, bill reconciliation, Partner Earned Credit, enabling cost management for customers, and setting budgets and alerts.

Find this course here: