Self-service purchase capability

14 January, 2020 is the day that Microsoft’s new self-service capability goes live for commercial customers in the US.

This functionality allows end-users to buy Power BI licences on their organisation’s tenant without going through the IT department. They pay with a credit card and get limited access to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center so that they can assign licences to other users as required. IT administrators can see any licences that have been purchased in this way through their view of the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, and can turn off users’ ability to self-serve using PowerShell if required. End users will be able to purchase licences for Power Apps and Power Automate soon, and the functionality will be available in other geographies through 2020. Find an FAQ here: http://bit.ly/2uNNQU3.

Microsoft 365 Business Voice

Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365 Business Voice in November 2019 for the UK and Canada, with plans for global availability in 2020. This is a single Add-on licence which includes access to Phone System, Audio Conferencing, and a Domestic Calling Plan, and can be added to an Office 365 plan (Business Essentials, Business Premium, A1, E1, A3, E3) or a Microsoft 365 plan (Business, A3, E3). It’s limited to up to 300 users in an organisation, and the price per month is £12.00 per user.

Find the original announcement here: http://bit.ly/2Yt80gU and a useful overview page here: http://bit.ly/2Yw4LoR.

General Availability of Windows Virtual Desktop

Microsoft announce the General Availability of Windows Virtual Desktop on 30 September, 2019: http://bit.ly/33abTIG. This page is a useful reminder of the licences required to access WVD: http://bit.ly/2UxKalz, and it’s been updated with the changes to the Microsoft 365 licence assignment rules where customers can now assign Microsoft 365 licences to any user, regardless of the user’s primary device, to use WVD and Office 365 – see the September 2019 Product Terms for details. If you’re a partner, then you’ll find some useful partner resources on WVD here: http://bit.ly/33fm4eS.

Planner comes to F1 plans

Microsoft announce that Planner will be added to Microsoft 365 F1 and Office 365 F1 commercial and government plans starting at the beginning of October 2019. The Planner functionality is the same as in higher level plans, and there’s no action for a customer to take.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2lStHb5.

Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support FAQ

There’s an updated (July 2019) Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support FAQ. Use it to answer questions such as: which programs are the Extended Security Updates available in (currently EA/EAS/EES, but CSP too by the end of 2019); who’s eligible for free ESUs (EA/EAS customers with active Windows E5 or Microsoft 365 E5/E5 Security subscriptions); and in which Windows environments is Office 365 ProPlus supported (it depends, see pages 12/13).

Find this document, as usual, here: http://bitly/MSLicensingGuides.

Update on Microsoft 365 From SA rights

Microsoft announce that they will not now remove the special Office Professional Plus installation rights that customers are currently entitled to with Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 From SA licences. The current rights are detailed on page 54 of the May 2019 Product Terms, and this announcement confirms that the rights are here to stay rather than being removed after 1st August 2019: http://bit.ly/2W7q4PN.

Home Use Program FAQ

There’s an updated FAQ on the Home Use Program with two main items of interest.

Firstly, the number of qualifying Office 365/Microsoft 365 licences that education or non-profit customers need is reduced to 2,000 to match the requirements for commercial or government customers.

Secondly, there are instructions added for IT administrators to manage the HUP benefit through the Microsoft Store for Business.

Find the FAQ here: http://bit.ly/2Y45JrL.

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates

Microsoft announce that Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 will be available for purchase starting 1 April, 2019.

This is where you’ll find the announcement: http://bit.ly/2THC3SZ, along with a link to download some FAQs.

If you’re interested in some facts and figures around running older software then this infographic is worth a look: http://bit.ly/2TcV7TU, and there’s a customisable sales guide for partners who want to help customers transition to a modern desktop with Microsoft 365 here: http://bit.ly/2Y3Ymk3.

Comparing Microsoft 365 Plans

For a detailed comparison of what’s in each of the Microsoft 365 E3, E5 and F1 plans, this site is useful: http://bit.ly/2t8ckU2.

It’s right up-to-date with the recent inclusion of MyAnalytics in all plans, the merging of Office 365 Cloud App Security into Microsoft Cloud App Security, and the combining of Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection and Threat Intelligence into Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection Plan 2.

Microsoft 365 Licensing Updates

Microsoft’s December 2018 Licensing News article has three topics of interest covering Microsoft 365 licensing updates. Firstly, EA and MPSA customers can now take advantage of a single SKU for Microsoft 365 which means that they see a single item in their Admin Centers and License Summaries, rather than seeing Office 365, Windows and EMS as separate components.

Secondly, there’s details of Microsoft’s new Home Use Program offer. Historically, HUP has been a Software Assurance benefit where users of devices licensed with Office + SA could purchase Office for their home PCs at a heavily discounted price. That benefit still exists for Office 2019 but the article reveals that this will come to an end on 30 June, 2019.

The new HUP offer allows individuals to purchase Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal annual subscriptions at a 30% discount. This is available to customers who have Office with Software Assurance but is also available to customers who qualify with a certain number of Office 365/Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 licences: 2,000 for commercial organisations, and 13,000 for education or charity institutions.

Now, this isn’t available worldwide yet and although you can see it’s live in most countries (see the UK site here, for example http://bit.ly/2B6guQG), the article states that China and Japan will have this benefit on 1 April, 2019, and if you check out the US site (http://bit.ly/2sOPW1Q) there’s a message telling you that the US launch will be in early 2019.

And finally, there’s an update on the dual use rights available when a customer has a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 From SA licence. Currently there are special rights detailed in the Product Terms which allow customers to install “traditional” Office Professional Plus as well as Office 365 ProPlus. The article states that these rights will be removed from 1 August, 2019 so customers renewing agreements after that date will no longer be entitled to the special installation rights.

Find the December 2018 Licensing News article here: http://bit.ly/2R3bV2u.