Overview of the Changes to the October 2014 Volume Licensing Product List

This month it’s Office 365 that dominates the changes to the Product List but there are some interesting changes to the Windows Rental Rights too, just to keep the balance.

New Office 365 SMB Plans

  • Three new Office 365 Plans aimed at the small and medium sized business are available both through the customer portal direct from Microsoft, and also through Open and Open Value Volume Licensing programs, for up to 300 users
  • Office 365 Business includes the Office applications and OneDrive, Office 365 Business Essentials includes Lync, Exchange and SharePoint Online Services, as well as OneDrive, and Office 365 Business Premium includes everything. This is the official availability announcement: http://bit.ly/1D3c0mU
  • There’s confirmation on page 55 about what happens to product key redemption for Office 365 Midsize Business – this product is available until 30 September 2015, after which time unredeemed subscriptions may be used for a successor product

From SA USLs

  • This is the third successive month that the From SA USLs have featured and this time it’s the turn of Project and Visio. It’s confirmed on page 50 that there’s From SA USLs available for Visio Pro for Office 365 as well as Project Pro and Project Online with Project Pro for Office 365, all only available through an EA
  • There’s also new wording added on page 10 for customers who bought Office 365 suites before 1 August 2014 – they’re allowed to renew into From SA USLs at their next Enrolment renewal

Windows Rental Rights

  • The main news here is that Windows Rental Rights have been expanded to include consumer editions of Windows. The table on page 24 shows that Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 7 Home Premium are now qualifying operating systems but there is a restriction for non-Pro versions of Windows – devices may only be rented to individuals for non-commercial use

Other news…

  • There’s a slight name change in the Office 365 Plans mentioned on page 9. A3 and G3 are no more – apparently we should now all refer to them as Education E3 and Government E3, with the commercial offering being Enterprise E3
  • See page 59 for some perhaps overdue confirmation that a user with an Enterprise Mobility Suite USL may access and use the relevant Online Services on up to five devices
  • Power BI for Office 365 is re-categorised as an “Other Online Service” on page 9, which makes it eligible for a one-year subscription in the table on page 42
  • And it’s farewell (at last!) to Exchange Server 2007 Standard for Small Business which means that all that’s left of the Small Business products is Small Business Server 2011…

Overview of the Changes to the September 2014 Volume Licensing Product List

I do like to find a theme in the updates to the Product List but I’m stumped this month – there’s a host of Quite Interesting changes but no real theme to them, so here they are – in all of their smorgasbord glory…

Shared Computer Activation

  • Technically, Office 365 ProPlus has been updated from 1 September 2014 to enable it to run in an RDS environment, whereas previously customers had to use Office Professional Plus 2013 software to enable this scenario. There are a couple of interesting licensing changes with this, the first being that if Office 365 ProPlus is indeed deployed in an RDS scenario with Shared Computer Activation it no longer counts as 1 of a user’s 5 installations. And the second is that Office 365 ProPlus can be deployed either on a dedicated physical hardware server or using Azure Platform Services
  • The full wording is on page 51 where it’s also confirmed that these rules apply for Visio Pro for Office 365 and Project Pro for Office 365. If you’re interested in knowing how the Shared Computer Activation works technically then this TechNet article is a good resource: http://bit.ly/1s9EOX4

MPSA Licensing Manual

  • Software Assurance was added to the MPSA starting on 1 September 2014 and it’s confirmed on page 62 that the rules governing SA in the MPSA are detailed in the MPSA Licensing Manual rather than in the Product List. You can get this useful document here: http://bit.ly/1s4V5yE

From SA USLs

  • The From SA USLs were new last month so see August’s Product List entry if you want an introduction to these SKUs. What’s new this month is that Subscription EA customers are also eligible for these transition licences. This is slightly bizarre since the From SA USLs are for customers who have fully paid up licences, but there’s a new rule for the subscription world that states that you’re eligible for these licences if the qualifying Subscription Licence was purchased at least three years prior to the purchase of the From SA USL. See page 54 for the full wording

Azure in the Server and Cloud Enrolment

  • A customer can sign an Azure-only SCE or have it as an additional service in, for example, an SCE that was signed with the SQL component. There’s wording added to page 43 that states that as part of the SCE, customers who have not ordered Microsoft Azure Services as part of their SCE will receive an activation email from Microsoft inviting them to provision Azure under their enrolment without a Monetary Commitment. There’s then further wording on page 44 that confirms that these customers will be invoiced quarterly for their consumption of the Azure services

Azure Active Directory Basic USL

  • This is the only new product added this month so worth a mention purely on those grounds, and it joins its more sophisticated elder brother Azure Active Directory Premium

Overview of the Changes to the August 2014 Volume Licensing Product List

Most of the changes to the Product List this month concern Azure and Online Services, with just some new server licences for AX 2012 R3 representing the changes to on-premises software.

Azure Services

  • From 1st August 2014 Azure is available to be purchased through Open and Open Value agreements and the Product List is updated accordingly with relevant information on pages 45/46. If you need more information and some resources then search for Azure on this blog
  • There are new sections added for Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery (see page 46) and what’s notable about these consumption-based services is that customers must make an initial purchase of the service rather than using any existing Azure Monetary Commitment funds. However, the existing Monetary Commitment MAY be applied to any usage that exceeds the initial quantity ordered. Find out more about Azure Backup here (http://bit.ly/1B5QPAH) and Azure Site Recovery here (http://bit.ly/1kTogBN)

New “From SA” USLs

  • There are three new “From SA” USLs added. What are these? I hear you cry! Well, they’re aimed at customers who have active SA on fully paid licences who want to transition to an Online Service – perhaps they have Core CAL and want to go to E1, for example. The three new USLs are for E1, E3 and E4 and there’s an eligibility table on page 55. Three other things to note: these USLs are cheaper than a full E1, E3 or E4 USL; you do need a Bridge CAL too; and you can only purchase them at EA Anniversary or Renewal
  • There has been a similar SKU for Office Professional Plus before – the Office 365 ProPlus SA Transition USL and this is now renamed to the Office 365 ProPlus From SA USL with details on page 52

Dynamics AX 2012 R3

  • There are a couple of new server products: Store Server and Standard Commerce Server Core. They’re listed on page 17 of the Product List, but for more information see the July 2014 PUR overview on this blog
  • There are some interesting Upgrade Rights added for customers who have active SA on AX 2012 licences. They’re detailed on page 18 and you’ll see why I said they’re “interesting” – for example, 1 AX 2012 Server licence plus 3 Enterprise Device CALs gives you 4 Standard Commerce Server Core licences…

Planning Services

  • Some Planning Services have been “Office 365-ified”, so customers may now use certain Planning Services engagements to plan for an Office 365 deployment. Page 67 shows that Desktop Deployment Planning Services, SharePoint Deployment Planning Services, and Lync & Exchange Deployment Planning Services have been adjusted to include this

Enterprise Strategy Engagements

And finally, in the words of the Product List itself: “An update has been made to the Enterprise Strategy Program Overview section” and you’ll see that the section starting on page 79 has been re-worked

Overview of the Changes to the July 2014 Volume Licensing Product List

There aren’t a huge number of changes this month to the Product List, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a closer look at a couple of the products which have been removed, and to report on what’s succeeded them and how you now acquire the equivalent services.

The first to go is Forefront Online Protection for Exchange which we’ve affectionately (?) called FOPE in the past. There’s a TechNet article (http://bit.ly/1nI6Kz2) which confirms that Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is the latest version of FOPE. You can acquire a standalone User Subscription Licence for about $1 a month (http://bit.ly/1kgEl44), or page 13 of the July 2014 Product List confirms that an Enterprise CAL Suite licence with active SA includes rights to EOP.

Exchange Hosted Encryption also leaves us. This msdn page (http://bit.ly/1qFm0Ad) tells us that Office 365 Message Encryption is the new version of EHE, and an announcement on the Office Blog (http://bit.ly/1nJ8AkI) gives details on how you get rights to this message encryption service.

And this brings me to another change to be aware of this month: the service that started off as “Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management” has had a few name changes, and this month it’s more simply known as “Microsoft Rights Management” and a User Subscription Licence for this service will give you access to Office 365 Message Encryption. However, don’t forget the new and shiny Enterprise Mobility Suite, since that’s another way to acquire rights to Microsoft Rights Management too (http://bit.ly/1mQcAK9).

Finally, there are a couple of products added – the Support offerings for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Listening. This link in the Product List (http://bit.ly/1rJonQO) is worth a look if you need to know more about these support options.

Overview of the Changes to the June 2014 Volume Licensing Product List

There’s really not much new in the June 2014 Product List which, although disappointing in terms of excitement levels, is a bit of a relief in our ever-changing licensing world.

Products added

  • The only major product added is BizTalk Server 2013 R2 and it’s a straight-forward update of the 2013 editions; see page 10
  • SQL Server 2012Parallel Data Warehouse is now available through EES and Academic Select Plus; see page 25

Extra clarification

  • There’s a new section detailing the “Open Value Subscription migration period” on page 47. This confirms that if an OVS customer has Office Standard or Professional Plus licensed under the OVS then they can continue to use those products for 180 days after the expiration of the agreement if they have certain Office 365 USLs
  • There’s confirmation added on page 36 that with the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Update, Sideloading no longer requires a VL Sideloading key. Sideloading is thus enabled by default on Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise

Product and SA Changes in the April 2014 Product List

There are some interesting product changes to the April 2014 Product List; it’s not often we see changes to the SA benefits – this month there are two – and the importance of the cloud is confirmed with two new Online Services and just one new on-premises product.

Product Changes

  • Firstly, there’s a like for like replacement for SQL 2012 products for their new, shinier SQL 2014 equivalents, representing minimal changes to the licensing between versions. You need to go to the April 2014 PUR to find documentation of the two notable changes in SQL 2014 licensing: BI CALs are waived for batch processing, and the licensing of a passive server is now an SA benefit
  • Microsoft Social Listening SKUs are added – both the standalone Social Listening Professional USL and the Add-on USL for organisations that are already licensed with an on-premises Dynamics CRM Professional CAL – with active SA of course. And if you’re wondering precisely what “social listening” may be, then, in a nutshell, it’s a service to monitor social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. If you want more information on the product, then this datasheet is worth a scan: http://bit.ly/RiG5fZ
  • The USL for OneDrive for Business is also added and gives licensed users access to Office Online too
  • The Windows Industry SKUs follow in the footsteps of their close relative, Windows 8.1, with the Enterprise edition being available as a standalone SKU and SA just allowed to be added to the Enterprise edition. Naturally, there’s a “with MDOP” edition too. There are two flavours of each SKU dependent on which devices the licences are being assigned to, and there’s a table which helps you to decide which one is required as long as you know what operating system the device is currently licensed for

Software Assurance Changes

  • Previously, Office licences purchased through a Volume Licensing program gave access to “Office Web Apps”. This is now changed so that rights to an on-premises deployment through Office Web Apps Server 2013 are included with the licence, and rights to Office Online are only available as an SA benefit. There’s also a note that users must be licensed for SharePoint Online to access the Office Online service
  • Given the ever closer licensing between Windows 8.1 and its first cousin, Windows Industry, the “Enhanced Edition Benefits” is a new benefit for both these products which allows the deployment of either edition under active SA

The New Look April 2014 Product List

So, the Microsoft Product List has had a spring makeover. This post gives you an overview of what’s changed in terms of the information you can expect to find in this, my favourite licensing document.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that a huge 101 pages have been cut: the March 2014 Product List was 188 pages and the April 2014 one weighs in at a slimline 87 pages. Gosh, where’s everything gone? Well, a big change is the removal of most of the program related information (which does make sense since this is a Product List rather than a Program List) but I’ll miss details like what products make up the different platforms across the programs, for instance. Some old friends also disappear: that very long orange table at the beginning of the document is a thing of the past, so there’s no overview of all the products in one place, and the last twelve months’ of changes are also cut.

The products are now separated into on-premises licences and Online Services and then listed alphabetically. While this is undoubtedly convenient, it will take some getting used to having Streets and Trips between SQL Server and System Center! Then, another of the reasons for the reduced number of pages is the way that everything for a product has been extracted from multiple locations around the document and consolidated into one place.

Let’s look at the entry for SharePoint which you’ll see below. All of the SharePoint products have been grouped together into a mini table which shows the availability by program and includes a column for the new MPSA program. There’s more information about the details of how a particular product can be acquired through a particular program denoted by the letters in the cells. There’s a key for these letters, as before, or you can (allegedly) hover over the letter or column heading to get the full details. I have to confess I don’t have the required mouse skills to do this having only made it work once or twice…

There’s a useful set of information under the table which gives details of previous versions and other information pertinent to the product. The table for Office, for instance, confirms that Office Professional Plus qualifies as an Up To Date discount product, and that the Office products are platform independent.

SharePoint 2014 PL

The Microsoft Volume Licensing blog has an article on these changes too, and you might want to peruse that if you just can’t get enough of the Product List. And who could blame you? http://bit.ly/1n6DAau