Microsoft CSP price changes: October 2022


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October 2022 will see some Microsoft price changes and new options added to the Server Subscriptions for Azure on the CSP program:

  • Windows Server 2022 Std 8-core license pack (1yr) drops from $272 to $213.60
  • Windows Server 2022 RDS User CAL (1yr) increases from $56.04 to $77.04

They are also adding Windows Server Datacenter 8-core license packs in 1 & 3 year variants, to complement the existing Windows Server Std offering.

Microsoft also state that, “over time”, the 1-year software subscriptions via CSP will be aligned with pricing on SPLA – meaning some products will increase while others decrease.

Microsoft cloud licensing changes coming October 2022


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Back in May 2022, Microsoft announced a range of upcoming changes to licensing in cloud environments and now, September 2022, we have more details.

Flexible Virtualization

This new benefit will allow customers with Software Assurance or subscription licenses to use their existing licenses to install and run on any (but not Listed Provider) infrastructure – whether it’s dedicated or shared.

Windows Server virtual cores

Customers will be able to license Windows Server by virtual core on 3rd party infrastructure. There will, of course (!), be a per VM minimum. The Microsoft announcements don’t mention Listed Providers for this element so perhaps this new licensing option will be available with Amazon, Google, and Alibaba…although it seems unlikely!

Desktop virtualization

Microsoft 365 E3/E5/F3 users without a primary device with a Qualifying Operating System (QoS) will be able to virtualize Windows 10/11 on 3rd-party infrastructure (but not Listed Providers) without needing the VDA add-on.

Cloud Solution Provider – Hoster

This new variant of the CSP program replaces the QMTH (Qualified Multi-Tenant Hosting) program. It will enable hosting partners to pre-build hosted desktop & server environments for customers and either provide the licenses or use customer provided licenses – giving greater flexibility for organizations. Customers will need to show proof-of-license for BYOL scenarios – verification of which I assume will be done by the partner. Initially it will only be available for Direct partners but Microsoft “look forward to expanding program eligibility over time“.

Microsoft state these will go live from October 1st so we should see them added to the Product Terms on that date too. I’ll of course be updating on that asap 😊

Check out the Microsoft post here.

Podcast: Microsoft New Commerce CSP changes


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Microsoft recently announced a range of upcoming changes to CSP via their “New Commerce Experience” and it’s safe to say that it’s caused some consternation among Microsoft partners – and rightly so really.

Westcoast invited me onto their “Cloud Talk” podcast to talk through some of these changes, what they mean for partners, and what the future might look like. We also talk about the Microsoft 365 price increases.

I had a great time talking to Tom about all this and hope you find the podcast useful and interesting – we cover quite a bit in 34 minutes! Check it out on Spotify here:

For more background, check out my blog posts:

New Commerce Experience changes

Microsoft 365 price increases

Microsoft make changes to CSP license terms


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Microsoft’s upcoming “New Commerce Experience” (NCE) is bringing some changes to the CSP world, which will mean things are different for partners and customers.

Longer term contracts

3 year terms will be available for Microsoft 365 & Dynamics 365 on CSP – a change from the current max. of 12 months. This will enable orgs to protect against price increases over a 36 month period and makes a lot of sense, given Microsoft’s aim to move many Level A Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers to CSP from 2022 onward.

Flexibility costs money

Microsoft say that there will be “new monthly-term offers with a price premium for customers who need term and seat-count flexibility“. One very attractive feature of CSP has always been the ability to reduce/cancel license quantities at a moment’s notice without penalty…the above statement suggests that customers who still want that will have to pay for the privilege.

Customers will be able to combine short/long term licenses, which is great for industries where seasonal fluctuations bring a short term increase to the user base. This is something that was addressed in the MPSA several years ago, before it lost its mantle as the “next big thing” to CSP.

There are various other changes to help partners offer a better service to customers including:

  • Streamlined trial conversion
  • Add-ons available separately
  • Enhanced management capabilities

All changes hit General Availability on October 1, 2021 although some won’t be available in Brazil until February 2022.

Microsoft Product Terms: July 2021


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Microsoft 365 Education Insights Premium listed as an add-on for Office 365 A1/A3/A5 and Microsoft 365 A3/A5

The “Third Party re-imaging clause” has been added to the Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA), although I’m not 100% sure why at the moment.

Windows “Get Genuine” licenses have been added to the Microsoft Customer Agreement – is this related to the above addition perhaps?

Various terms and clauses updated – including one which clarifies that Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) access rights in Window 10 licenses are limited to customers’ own tenant.s

M365 E5 security/compliance add-ons removed as pre-requisites for Premium Assessments.

Professional Direct Support added for Power Platform. Licenses must be acquired for every Dynamics 365 and Power Platform license on the agreement – but has a maximum of 250. Any licenses above that are covered without additional licenses being required.

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement v CSP – upcoming changes


Optimizing our purchasing motions for customers and partners – Microsoft Partner Network

It seems that Microsoft are gearing up to position CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) as a replacement for Enterprise Agreement Level A.

In a recent blog post from Dan Truax, General Manager for Partner Digital Experiences and Programs, Microsoft revealed some very interesting information. The post talks about how the current purchasing experience across the various licensing programs is “fractured” as each program has its own terms, prices, consoles, sales processes etc. It states that all customers will sign the “Microsoft Customer Agreement” (MCA) which is currently only for CSP and there will be two “motions – Breadth (CSP) and Enterprise. The desire to simplify licensing is far from new but the blog post goes on to state:

“Partner economics in the breadth motion will be optimized for deals below 2400 seats for new commerce seat-based online service offers, or Azure deals below $1M USD annualized consumption”

Now, “Breadth motion” = CSP and 2,400 seats is the starting point for Enterprise Agreement Level B pricing. This seems to indicate that Microsoft will re-level pricing, and partner rebates and incentives, to make CSP the more attractive option for organisations below 2,400 seats. This is a fairly significant change, furthering Microsoft’s move to make Enterprise Agreements the domain of the large customers with more bespoke needs.

A few years ago, they raised the EA Level A entry point from 250 to 500 seats and I’ve long expected it to be increase to 1,000. In the above post, Microsoft state that the new incentives and pricing changes won’t be implemented before March 2022 at the earliest so perhaps we won’t see any changes until then.

See Microsoft’s post here.

Microsoft announce the end of Open Licensing


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Microsoft Open Licensing is (almost) dead. The writing has been on the wall for so long it’s almost been designated a public artwork so this is no surprise but still…it’s a bit of a surprise. Open Licensing or MOLP/OLP has been the mainstay of Microsoft Volume Licensing for decades and the primary licensing vehicle for most SMBs and smaller organisations around the world.

What changed?

A few years ago though, Microsoft introduced the CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) program and it fast became the anointed one, with a huge amount of focus from Microsoft and it’s been clear for a long time that (part of) the eventual plan was to replace Open licensing.

When they stopped adding new products to the Open pricelist, that was a pretty big sign but the clearest indication the end was nigh was in July 2020. Microsoft announced that perpetual software like Office Standard, Exchange Server, Project Professional etc. was coming to CSP. So far, CSP has been all about subscription software so wasn’t an option for organisations who, for whatever reason, preferred to purchase their Microsoft outright; those customers stayed on Open licensing.

What’s happening?

Perpetual software via CSP is in limited availability at the moment with general availability slated for January 2021. Nothing changes on Open licensing until December 31, 2021 – so you can continue to buy & renew licenses, Software Assurance (SA), and Online Services throughout 2021. Come January 1, 2022, commercial* customers will no longer be able to buy or renew licenses or online services via Open licensing.

*The specific mention of “commercial” customers is interesting. From that, one can imply that non-profit and academic customers will not be impacted…at least not at the same time. It’s often the case that changes apply first for commercial customers.

Post Jan 1, 2022:

Software Assurance will continue until it’s expiration, even if that is beyond December 31, 2021.

Online Services tokens can still be assigned and used, even after December 31, 2021 – but it must be within 5 -years of purchase.

For new licenses without SA, the primary (for many, only) option will be to buy via CSP.

Software Assurance isn’t available via CSP so, if that’s a deal breaker, you’ll need to look at one of the two Open Value programs – either:

  • Open Value Perpetual (OVP) – Perpetual licenses + SA
  • Open Value Subscription (OVS) – Subscription licenses with SA benefits

If you purchase via Open Licensing, work with your partner to understand which program/s will best serve you in 2022 and what additional costs you may be facing. You can see Microsoft’s announcement here.

Microsoft Product Terms: August 2020


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Nothing too major this month, as expected:

  • The Teams Advanced Communications SKU has been added
  • There are a few updates to SQL Hybrid Benefit info for Server Subscriptions
  • Added extra Power Platforms info covering:
    • Purchase minimums
    • Extended Use Rights for Portals
    • Additional pre-requisites

Nothing new for Power Platform, really just moving key info from the licensing guide to the Product Terms – which is the way it should be.

Microsoft July 2020 licensing changes


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It’s just a few weeks into their new financial year and Microsoft are already making changes.

Perpetual software via CSP

Continuing their focus on the CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) program becoming the primary licensing model for the majority of organisations, Microsoft are now making perpetual software aka ‘software licenses’ available via CSP – although Software Assurance (SA) will not be available. This includes products such as:

  • Office Standard/Professional 2019
  • Exchange Server 2019
  • SharePoint Server 2019

The software must be run on hardware dedicated to the customer and downgrade rights are included.

Aimed primarily at those customers who purchase via Microsoft Open licensing, this new offering is intended to reduce the need for organisations to have CSP and another license agreement. From July 1, 2020, a select set of “indirect providers and their indirect resellers” will be able to transact these new additions and then it will open up to all CSP partners from January 2021.

E5 gets calling minutes

UPDATE AUGUST 1,2020: Microsoft have announced they’re cancelling the introduction of both the Enterprise Voice SKUs AND adding Calling Plans to E5.

Shoutout to Rob Quickenden for highlighting this change in Twitter.

Microsoft say in their updated post that they’re no longer launching ” due to rapidly evolving market conditions” and that they will “continue to assess the market and sales data to determine whether the launch will be rescheduled”.

This seems like a strange move. The additions made a lot of sense and have been well received by most people that have already heard about it! I wonder what Microsoft’s logic is?

See more here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/partner-center/announcements/2020-july#10

August 1, 2020 will see the introduction of “Microsoft 365 Enterprise Voice” – a combination of:

  • Phone System
  • Audio Conferencing
  • Domestic Calling Plans

Which will be available in ‘Plan 1’ and ‘Plan 2’ flavours – ‘Plan 1’ will include 120 minutes of domestic outbound calling while the number of minutes in ‘Plan 2’ is still to be revealed.

These will be available via Enterprise Agreement (EA & EAS), CSP, and Web Direct for all countries where Calling Plans are currently available – except for the United States and Puerto Rico. License pre-requisites are M365 F3/E3 or O365 F3/E1/E3.

Additionally, 120 minutes of domestic outbound calling will be added to:

  • Microsoft 365 E5/A5
  • Office 365 E5/A5

At no additional cost – although it will require a new SKU.

Further Reading

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/partner-center/announcements/2020-july

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central


Microsoft have announced the upcoming release of Dynamics 365 Business Central, with general availability from April 2, 2018 for 14 countries:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • UK
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • France
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Sweden
  • Finland

with Australia and New Zealand following on July 1, 2018.

What does it do?

Microsoft say this product “brings the full power of Dynamics NAV” to the cloud and covers:

  • Managing finances
  • Operations
  • Sales
  • Customer Service

Licensing

There will be 2 editions available:

  • Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium

and, although I haven’t seen it confirmed, it’s likely it will have the 300 user limit that applies to the Office 365 Business products.

Interestingly, this product will be available ONLY via the CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) program…there is no volume licensing availability announced.

Further Reading

Microsoft Blog

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