Microsoft 365 A1 per device licensing

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Microsoft have introduced a new SKU for Education – Microsoft 365 A1 for devices. It costs $38 per device for 6 years and provide the full M365 suite of apps plus Minecraft and cloud management capabilities.

The announcement seems to be aimed at Google due to the mention of “providing more for students and educators relative to competitive offerings at the same price” but, as Mary Jo Foley points out, Google’s most expensive EDU offering is $5 per student per year. Perhaps Microsoft are banking on education establishments seeing a very high ratio of students to devices?

See the Microsoft announcement here.

Microsoft Product Terms: October 2017

Microsoft have introduced a number of changes in the October 2017 Product Terms document – let’s take a look.

SQL Server 2017


SQL Server 2017 has been released, and the big thing is its support for Linux.

Microsoft point out page 29 of the Product Terms that “SQL Server Licenses are platform agnostic” and can be used on “Windows or Linux platforms”.

Machine Learning Server

The Product Terms also states that only customers with SQL Server Enterprise + SA may use updates to “Machine Learning Server for Windows or Linux” that are released after October 2017.

Additionally, for each SQL Server Enterprise core license with active SA, customers may run “Machine Learning Server for Hadoop” on up to 5 (five) servers.

What is “Machine Learning Server” you ask? Good question! It was “Microsoft R Server” and now, with the 9.2 release, it becomes “Machine Learning Server”.

For more info – head to this Microsoft blog.

R Server

The various flavours of “R Server” are being retired and so there are transition plans in place for those organisations with Software Assurance.

R Server for Hadoop

For each 1 (one) R Server for Hadoop license with active SA, you may renew SA for 2 (two) x SQL Server Enterprise Core Licenses.

R Server for Linux

For each 2 (two) R Server for Linux licenses with active SA, you may renew SA for 2 (two) x SQL Server Enterprise Core Licenses.

R Server for Teradata DB

For each 1 (one) R Server for Teradata license, you may renew SA for 6 (six) x SQL Server Enterprise Core Licenses.

SQL Server for Linux Promotion

On page 95, we see there is a promo running from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 where:

“Microsoft will offer a Linux-specific subscription license for SQL Server 2017”

and, unlike the regular license this promo offering will:

“allow use of SQL Server on the Linux platform only”.

I can currently only assume that this promo offering will be cheaper than the license that offers dual platform rights, but let’s see!

Microsoft 365 F1

This is a new offering, aimed at those “Firstline” (formerly Kiosk) workers, for whom Office 365 F1 (formerly K1) was intended. Microsoft are now looking to extended the features and benefits of Windows 10 and EMS to these workers too – hence an F1 version of the recently renamed Microsoft 365 bundle license.

There are a couple of key things to note:

“The Windows component of Microsoft 365 F1 operates as an Online Service” and does NOT have rights to:

  • Prior versions
  • Different language versions
  • Different platform versions
  • Lower editions of Windows (including LTSB)

Nor does it grant rights to access or use “virtualized instances of Windows”.

A Microsoft 365 F1 USL DOES grant access to Windows Servers, but is not a “CAL Equivalent License” for any other product.

A “step-up” from Office 365 F1 to Microsoft 365 F1 is available.


Visio Online licensing

There have been changes to the licensing here. We can see on page 5 of the Product Terms that:

Visio Pro for Office 365

has been removed and replaced by:

Visio Online Plan 1 & Plan 2

There doesn’t appear to be any further public info on what the plans contain etc. but, as it appears, I’ll be sure to post.

Exchange Online Inactive Mailboxes

A new license has been added to the Exchange Online product line – the “Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox” SKU.

The product name is fairly self-explanatory as this license is required when licensing inactive mailboxes. Again, when there is more public information, I will update with the ins & outs.

UPDATE: Microsoft have confirmed that this change WILL NOT be taking place currently. Although the SKU has been added to the Product Terms, it is not active.

Skype for Business Online Renaming

We get confirmation this month of the Skype for Business Online name changes:

Skype for Business Online PSTN Calling = Calling Plan

Skype for Business Online PSTN Conferencing = Audio Conferencing

Skype for Business Online PSTN Consumption = Communication Credits

Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX = Phone System


We see that Microsoft 365 (the bundle of Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 & Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)) A3 & A5 have been added to the product line-up.

There have also been changes to the Student Use Benefits:

Student Use Benefit

Microsoft Student Advantage

Microsoft have announced another great benefit available to education customers:

“Any academic institution that licenses Office for staff & faculty can provide Office 365 Office Pro Plus to students AT NO ADDITIONAL COST”

This, known as Student Advantage, starts from December 1st.

Its aim is to help give students the skills they’ll need to be successful out in the world of work, whilst helping schools manage costs – certainly a worthy aim!

You can read more here:!

Microsoft Office 365 & BPOS

Microsoft made a big announcement today – Office is available online!

Yes Office Web Apps have been with us for a little while but they are lacking many features and, in the corporate world, you need a full Office licence on your desktop to use them. This however is “proper” online Office so, just like the original BPOS offerings such as Exchange & Sharepoint, it exists solely in the cloud…no on premise(s) software required.

There were also name changes, new products and new prices announced today so let’s take a look at the whole shebang!

Office 365

This is the new name for Microsoft’s cloud services, both existing and new. Family members include:

Office 365 Small Business

Office 365 for Enterprise (BPOS V2)

BPOS Government


To be honest, I’m not really sure about the name. Maybe it will grow on me but for now at least, it feels a bit cheap and I’ve already seen people asking what happens on day 366 of a leap year Smile

Office 365 Small Business

This cut down version of Microsoft’s cloud offerings is, as the name suggests, aimed at small businesses with up to 25 users and offers:

  • Exchange Online
  • Sharepoint Online
  • Lync Online
  • Office Web Apps
  • External Web Site

for $6 per user per month.

Office 365 for Enterprise

BPOS V2 aka Union will be available in the first half of 2011, as per Mary Jo Foley’s info.

This will give companies:

  • Office Professional Plus
  • Exchange Online
  • Sharepoint Online
  • Lync Online
  • 24×7 Phone Support
  • On Premise(s) licences

It’s to be noted that the upcoming Wave 14 releases of the online products will introduce dozens of new features that make them much more compelling to businesses, such as the ability to federate Lync and host extranets on Sharepoint:

Read Microsoft BPOS- More new features

All this will cost just $24 per user per month – that is really amazing!


Beta testing across 13 countries has started, with beta sign up available at:

If you can get it to load up for you – I’m having no luck!

Office365 will be available in 40 countries during 2011. It will then expand to include Dynamics CRM 2011 Online (a great product) and then a separate Educational focused offering will arrive, rolling into it Live@EDU.

Follow @Office365 for more info.

I’m already thinking of a number of our clients who will be very interested in Office Online but one question I have already been asked is:

“Can I get Office Online as a separate product?”

I don’t think so but I will check…

Microsoft Enrolment for Education Solutions (EES)

Microsoft licensing has a new family member, Enrolment for Education Solutions AKA EES.

Currently, there are 2 education specific licensing programs, Schools Agreements & Campus Agreements (I’m not including Open Academic & Select Academic as specific). These offer huge savings over standard licence costs but there are certain requirements that don’t always please people, mainly the requirements to cover ALL eligible desktops, even if they’re already licenced or not to be used for that purpose.

Last year, Microsoft introduced a pilot licensing scheme for education called SESP, which I covered here:

Read Microsoft Licensing- Subscription Enrollment for Schools

Not much has been heard about SESP since then, but it’s influence can definitely been seen in EES.

It’s interesting to note that Live@EDU, the free email+ service for Further/Higher Education establishments will be fully integrated into EES.

What’s different?

The big change is that EES is based on an FTE (Full Time Employee) count, rather than the number of desktops. This will, for almost all schools and colleges, dramatically reduce the number of licences needed.

Another change is the ability to add “non-platform” products in any quantity at any stage of the contract. This will reduce costs as well as help reduce complexity and perceived “pointlessness” of licensing. A good example of this is one we had with a customer a year or 2 ago, where they wanted 70 something Terminal Service CALs but they were required to purchase 700+ as that was their desktop count! Many grumbles were made about that as 600+ of them were never used and seen as a complete waste of money.

Something else that will help organizations further reduce costs is the ability to pro-rate the pricing of additional products, with a minimum charge of 6 months. For example:

Product added in month 3 = full price x 0.75

Product added in month 9 = full price x 0.5

You can also define an organization in a much more granular fashion so it could be:

  • Entire school district
  • Entire school
  • Just Year 11
  • Just the science departments

or more…much more flexible Smile

However you define the organization, the minimum entry point is still 300 units.

What exactly is FTE?

Perhaps not surprisingly, FTE isn’t quite as straight forward as just “Full Time Employees”! The actual calculation is:


“Non desktop PC Users” such as maintenance or food service staff can be excluded from the count. MS point out that you must include “student employees”, although I’m not sure what they are?!


EES is being made available at different time in different regions, and also through different channels. December 2010 will see the limited launch of EES.

In the US & Canada = December launch of EES under Campus Agreement via Distribution & Value Add Resellers (VARs).

In EMEA = December launch of EES to Campus Customer only via Large Account Resellers (LARs) only.

In APAC = December launch of EES under Campus Agreement via LAR only.

It won’t be available to primary & secondary schools in EMEA until March 1st 2011.

Windows 7 Cram Live Meeting

If you saw the Windows 7 Exam Cram session that was running on March 11th but missed the actual event (like me), the recording is now available online here:

So if you’re working towards some Windows 7 exams (at least 70-680 & 70-685) or would like to but not sure where to start, head over there and get started…I will be ASAP!

Microsoft Semblio

Microsoft Semblio is a new iteration of their development platform which utilises .NET and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and is specifically targeted towards the educational market.

Semblio can be used to create information rich, graphically engaging, immersive learning materials using a wide range of multimedia, all aimed at enhancing the learning experience for students (and indeed, the teaching experience for teachers!). As it is based on the .NET Framework:

“it works across software, services, and learning management systems.”

However, it isn’t just for developers. The Semblio assembly tool, which will ship with Office 2010, will:

“allow multiple content types to be combined into a single, rich, multimedia presentation, all in a single, familiar, and easy-to-use Microsoft Office-like application”


This has got something of a Web 2.0 “mashup” stle about it and will certainly be familiar and more engaging for students than more traditional methods. This next screenshot shows the kind of interactivity that can be expected:

Semblio screenshot1

Using the slider to increase/decrease the temperature and seeing the effects on the water…


This can either mean that schools will have the ability to create exciting learning materials in-house as well as making it easier for partners to create such materials too. You can:

  • Increase the value of your content by enabling educators to customize materials to their specific requirements.
  • Engage today’s students and foster exploratory learning with packaging and arrangement of dynamic, interactive, and rich instructional material.
  • Improve efficiency during content creation by enabling nontechnical subject matter experts to participate in the content creation process
  • Reduce the cost of going digital by creating your content once, then delivering it to all customers regardless of platform.

To me this looks like a great new addition to the Office suite of products and also a great addition to schools, for students and teachers alike. Having been on visits to various schools this year, it’s clear that they’re much more advanced that back in my day (!) and can sometimes rival corporations when it comes to technology adoption.

VLE’s (Virtual Learning Environments) such as Moodle, and products such as Sharepoint have made big changes to learning over the past few years; and I can see Semblio really making a mark. These interactive lesson modules delivered in Moodle accessed via Sharepoint would give a great experience for students at home/learning remotely.

I’d be interested to hear what people involved with Education think about this…be it students, teachers, IT managers, suppliers, coders etc 🙂

Get Started:

Download the Semblio SDK.

Download Visual Studio 2008

Get familiar Service pack 1 of .NET 3.5 platform

Get familiar with WPF

If you want to get more in-depth, grab the programmer’s guide here.

Other Links:

Semblio: How it works

Semblio Blog

MS Exam 70-680 training videos

Exam 70-680 is the new Microsoft MCTS exam for Configuring Windows 7 that builds towards the MCITP accreditations.

I’ve been thinking of taking this exam for a little while and now there is what’s shaping up to be an excellent series of training videos available from @Bibbleq. He’s an IT Admin and has started putting these videos together in his spare time to help out anyone looking at this exam – so ‘nuff respect for that 🙂

I’ve watched the 1st 2 videos that are available and they’re really good. Well presented, clear and I’ve definitely picked up a thing or two, which is what it’s all about isn’t it?! I’m not sure how many will be in the series but I’m confident that once you’ve seen them all, you’ll be in a position to pretty much go and take the exam straight away!

First video is here.

Second video is here.

Third video is here.

Fourth video is here. This is the start of Section 2.

Section 2 Module 2 is here. This covers DISM & ImageX.

Homepage is here.

Nice one Bibbleq!

%d bloggers like this: