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.

Windows Server 2016 Licensing Guide

There’s a brand new (May 2017) Windows Server 2016 Licensing Guide released by Microsoft. It’s a delicious 31 pages of licensing loveliness, but here are our highlights:

  • Core Packs: there’s confirmation of the new 16-core packs on page 7, but an interesting note points out that although the cost of eight 2-packs equals one 16-pack, they may not have the same point count in Volume Licensing programs where this matters – MPSA or Open, for example. There’s also confirmation on page 21 (Q4) that the licences from a multi-pack can be split across servers, they’re not joined forever at purchase point
  • Nano Server: this is a deployment option available only if you have SA on your Windows Server licences, and page 6 confirms that you also need SA on any Windows Server CALs too
  • Core Migration: there’s a lot of guidance on migrating from Processor-based to Core licences and, in particular, there are a couple of pages of FAQs starting on page 26, including what happens with Core licence grants if you have a subscription agreement, and how the grants appear in your licensing portal
  • Standard or Datacenter: there’s a useful table on page 25 which shows the breakeven point for virtual machines running on a 2-processor server which has 8 cores per processor. You’ll find that if you’re running 13 or more virtual machines on this server, then it’s cheaper to license with Datacenter edition

As usual, you can find this Licensing Guide with all of its Licensing Guide family and friends at: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Multi-Year Duration Options retired in the MPSA

Microsoft announce the retirement of multi-year duration options for Online Services purchased through the MPSA.

This means that customers purchasing new licences for Online Services will pay upfront for a maximum of 12 months.

Existing customers aren’t affected if they already have multi-year subscriptions in place.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2o7R1xO.

Azure and the MPSA

Microsoft announce that from 1 February 2017 new customers will not be able to buy Azure consumption services through the MPSA, but confirm that existing customers are unaffected.

Advice to partners is that they should recommend the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) channel for any new pay-as-you-go Azure customers going forward.

Read the blog post here: http://bit.ly/2j0dACN.

August 2016 MPSA Licensing Manual

The MPSA Licensing Manual is updated for August 2016 with the main change being that all of the rules governing SA benefits have been moved to the Product Terms document – see our blog post for details: http://bit.ly/2aUDKBq.

Other amendments include references to the new Microsoft Business Center portal (updated from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center), confirmation that Azure services are billed quarterly in arrears (page 5), and that Step Ups and other licences for transitions are available through the MPSA (page 5).

Find the MPSA Licensing Manual here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Software Assurance: August 2016 Product Terms

The Software Assurance section in the August 2016 Product Terms document is updated.

The main change is that the rules governing SA benefits for the MPSA have been moved into the Product Terms from the MPSA Licensing Manual.

Previously, Training Vouchers could not be converted to Planning Services Days within the MPSA but that restriction is now lifted (page 74), although it’s still not possible to convert 24×7 Problem Resolution Support Incidents to Premier Problem Resolution Support hours in this agreement (page 78).

Secure Productive Enterprise Plans

Microsoft give some more detail on the Secure Productive Enterprise plans which will replace the Enterprise Cloud Suite.

Firstly, there’s news that licensed users will be allowed one on-premises install of Office Professional Plus, and then there’s confirmation that SPE E3 and E5 will be available through the EA and MPSA at launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, and then later through CSP too.

Read the full announcement here: http://bit.ly/2aaKDR7.

MPSA: Enterprise Advantage

Microsoft announce that “Enterprise Advantage” will be added to the MPSA in 2017.

Today, the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) allows customers with 250 PCs+ to purchase traditional licences, with or without Software Assurance, and Online Services on a transactional basis.

Enterprise Advantage will add a way for customers to purchase on a committed basis with similar requirements to the existing Enterprise Agreement. This, of course, is significant since 1 July marked the change of the minimum requirements for the EA from 250 to 500 users/devices.

Find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/29dVfMI.

Microsoft Business Center FAQ

The Microsoft Business Center was launched worldwide on 16 May, 2016. This is the new portal for MPSA users and while it looks different at first glance, carrying out tasks such as viewing licences, downloading keys, and managing SA benefits is the same.

There is, however, a new URL (businessaccount.microsoft.com), but existing credentials will still work, and we’re told that future plans include the ability to see purchases made through other Volume Licensing agreements – hurrah!

This FAQ is a good overview document: http://bit.ly/1TMOhSm.