Microsoft Teams Rooms licensing: September 2022


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The September Product Terms revealed that Microsoft have replaced Teams Rooms Standard & Premium with Teams Rooms Basic & Pro, and we now have more information on feature differences and licensing.

Teams Rooms Basic

This is the free entry level license, included with certified Teams Devices and available via the Microsoft 365 Amin Center (not via resellers etc.). It is limited to 25 licensed devices within an organisation, if devices are needed they must be covered with Pro licenses. Furthermore, it is limited to 1 device per room with the same resource account – if 2 or more devices are needed, this again requires a Pro license.

You’ll notice below that Basic does not include a Teams Phone license, preventing the room from making/receiving PSTN calls.

Teams Rooms Pro

These are $40 per device per month and offer a much wider range of features than the Basic license.

It seems Microsoft have removed access to in-person engineers as part of the management features offered, with the Docs page stating “Microsoft Service engineers will no longer serve as intermediaries to incident response starting October 1, 2022“.

How do they compare to their predecessors?

Teams Rooms Basic is missing many of the features that were present in Teams Room Standard which means organisations may find themselves having to move from the $15 per month Standard license to the $40 per month Pro license at renewal – a significant increase. Equally, although probably much less likely, some organisations could drop from Standard ($15) to Basic ($0) and save money each month.

Basic v Pro

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoftteams/rooms/rooms-licensing#switching-from-teams-rooms-standard-and-teams-rooms-premium

This link here gives a detailed comparison of the differences between Basic & Pro in various different use areas. I would recommend also comparing the new functionality to your existing licenses to identify if you’ll need the Pro option going forwards.

Further Reading

Microsoft announcement

Teams Rooms licensing

New Teams Rooms pricing

Old Teams Rooms pricing

Tom Talks blog for more in-depth telephony info

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.

Microsoft Product Terms: September 2022


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Not much this month at all:

Teams Rooms Standard & Premium swapped for Basic & Pro
Qatar added as a data location
Clarified terms for Azure Databox & Stack Edge

Microsoft also revealed further details around the upcoming cloud licensing changes (which I’ll post about separately) but these aren’t in the Product Terms this month…will likely be October.

Microsoft Product Terms: August 2022


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The Product Terms were on time this month (😊) but not a huge amount has happened (as expected).

The M365 F1 & F3 maximum screen size limitation is increased from 10.1″ to 10.9″ – this expands the devices available to F SKU users and – perhaps – widens the scope of who can be assigned such a license?

“Home Use Program” is renamed “Workplace Discount Program” – no changes to terms…yet…

Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting added (although the specific page currently has an error)

Still no sign of the rule changes around 3rd-party cloud licensing that were announced in May…

Microsoft Financial Results: FY22


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Microsoft announced their results for FY22 Q4 and the full year and, as expected, the numbers are big and the percentage increases are (mostly) double digits. For the full year, revenue was $198.3 billion (an increase of 18%) and operating income was $83.4 billion (up 19%).

There were a few different things that negatively impacted the numbers in Q4 including:

  • Exchange rate changes – many of the “constant currency” growth figures are 5 or 6% higher than actual
  • COVID shutdowns in China cost over $300 million of Windows OEM revenue
  • Scaling back in Russia cost $126 million
  • An interesting one this – due to a “strategic realignment of…business groups”, Microsoft spent $113 million on employee severances.

but let’s take a look at some of the highlights for Q4:

FY 22 Q4

  • Revenue for the final 3 months was $51.9 billion, an increase of 12%.
  • Operating income was $20.5 billion, up 8%

Productivity & Business Processes

  • Revenue = $16.6 billion (up 13%)
  • Office 365 Commercial up 15%
  • LinkedIn up 26%
  • Dynamics 365 up 31%

Intelligent Cloud

  • Revenue = $20.9 billion (up 20%)
  • Azure up 40%

Earnings call highlights

  • Cosmos DB grew 100%+ YoY each quarter in FY22
  • 25 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) for Power Platform
  • Office 365 E5 is now 12% of the installed base (up from 8%)
  • Security revenue up 40%
  • Azure Virtual Desktop MAU almost 60% YoY increase
  • Office on-premises down over 30%
  • 25% of Fortune 500 using Viva

All these product areas are doing what Microsoft want them to do. As well as them innovating and creating products in the right areas, it also shows that their sales activities – direct and through partners – are paying off.

They said that E5 was strong both for renewals and new additions and Amy Hood mentioned they’re focusing on deployment and increasing usage of the suite. This makes sense as there are so many components of E5 these days that even customers getting value from E5 – typically via Office, Power BI, and a bit of security/telephony – have got some much more they could be using. I’d expect partners will be incentivized to get their customers utilising more of the E5 suite and it may mean that customers can use it to their advantage to extract concessions, POC funding etc. from partners and/or Microsoft.

On a similar note, Satya Nadella mentioned that Microsoft are now incentivizing their field sales teams to ensure that customer’s Azure bills “come down” through optimization efforts. This is a good thing to see from a cloud vendor and will hopefully lead to some legitimate savings for customers.

Microsoft Digital Contact Center


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Announced at Inspire 2022, the Microsoft Digital Contact Center (MDCC) is the latest in a relatively recent line of “Products that are actually bundles of other products and parts of other bundles” – namely the various “Industry Cloud for…” and the “Intelligent Data Platform”.

The MDCC is comprised of:

  • Dynamics 365
  • Teams
  • Power Platform
  • Nuance

It’s interesting to see Nuance appear in something outside the Cloud for Healthcare…Microsoft clearly had some plans when they made that acquisition! This new offering focuses in all the areas you’d expect such as:

  • Omni-channel engagement
  • Customer self-service
  • AI powered virtual agents
  • Voice & video engagement
  • Biometrics and customer security
  • Analytics
  • AI powered support & knowledge articles

Microsoft look to be using established partners in this areas to deliver solutions based on MDCC, at launch these include:

  • Accenture-Avanade
  • EY
  • HCL
  • Hitachi
  • KPMG
  • PWC
  • Avaya

and more. Check out more information from Microsoft here.

Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty


A new “Cloud for…” has been announced and this one – Cloud for Sovereignty – is aimed at helping Public Sector organisations make the most of, and thus use more of, the Azure cloud. It does this by offering enhanced capabilities to meet the various rules and regulations around data location and access such as the GDPR.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2022/07/19/microsoft-cloud-for-sovereignty-the-most-flexible-and-comprehensive-solution-for-digital-sovereignty/

As the image shows, it focuses on 4 key areas:

  • Data Residency
  • Sovereign Controls
  • Governance & Transparency
  • Expertise

Data Residency

A key focus for public sector organisations is the location of data and Microsoft say they will soon be adding the “EU Data Boundary” which will ensure all EU & EFTA customer data is not only stored in the EU but also processed there too.

Sovereign Controls

Microsoft say these new protection and encryption capabilities will span the entire Microsoft cloud from IaaS & PaaS through to SaaS such as M365, D365, and Power Platform.

Governance & Transparency

This will give eligible organisations access to source code and the ability to audit Azure compliance processes.

Expertise

Microsoft position this as a partner-led offering and it seems this is, at least partly, related to the recent cloud licensing changes they announced for “European” cloud providers.

See more about the offering here.

Microsoft Power Automate Pay As You Go


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Microsoft have announced that Power Platform is the latest product to get a Pay As You Go (PAYG) licensing option, following PowerApps and Dataverse.

How does it work?

You link your Power Automate environment to Azure, and different teams/parts of the business can use their own Azure subscriptions to pay for Flows that run.

Pricing

Cloud Flows

$0.60 per cloud flow run

Desktop Flows (Attended)

$.060 per attended desktop flow run

Desktop Flows (Unattended)

$3.00 per unattended flow run

Pricing rules

Charges won’t apply when you’re testing them in the designer or resubmitting failed flows. Also, “child flows” won’t incur additional charges for cloud/attended flows…but both parent and child flows will be charged for unattended flows.

Flow runs triggered by “per user” licensed users won’t incur costs – as long as the usage is within their license terms. However, if they use features outside of their license i.e. if someone licensed with “Power Automate per User” runs an “attended RPA” flow, that will be charged as their license doesn’t cover attended RPA usage.

Conclusion

As with PowerApps, this lowers the barrier of upfront payment which will – Microsoft hope – make more organisations willing to take the plunge into Power Platform. With 25 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) at the moment, it’s doing well but there’s a lot of growth potential out there for sure.

I think organisations should be cautious with how they adopt this model, as I can foresee it becoming difficult to properly monitor and manage costs and usage further down the line.

Check out some of the Microsoft pages here:

Announcement

Set up a PAYG plan

Pricing

PAYG meters

Microsoft Viva Engage


Microsoft have added another member to the Viva family – Microsoft Inspire 2022 saw the announcement of Viva Engage. It’s hard to hear that and not picture Captain Jean Luc Picard isn’t it?!

Built on the existing Yammer Communities app, it’s another way for employees to connect within an organisation and will include “stories” and “storylines” to enable sharing of thoughts, ideas etc. – very “social media-esque”.

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/yammer-blog/introducing-viva-engage/ba-p/3571377

Viva & Yammer

The Yammer Communities app in Teams will be re-branded “Viva Engage” and all content, networks, customer branding etc. will remain in place. Being licensed for Yammer is a requirement to use Viva Engage so current Yammer users shouldn’t lose anything in this change/rebrand.

Conclusion

This is another step on the journey of making Viva more important to the fabric and wellbeing of organisations – Microsoft clearly want Viva to be integral to the smooth operation of the business/employee relationship. Viva is going to be a core pillar of Microsoft’s business within a few years, bringing HR and employee satisfaction parts of a customer into Microsoft’s world too.

It also further the positioning of Teams as the central point for business communication and the focal point for each user’s day.

See the Microsoft announcement here.

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