Microsoft Update January 2019

Some of the principle product and licensing updates for January 2019

  • MyAnalytics now more broadly available to Office365 and M365 Users, and the standalone SKU is retired. Initially as an Outlook Add-In but features will improve until there is parity with the standalone offering.
  • Office365 Cloud App Security will be wrapped into Microsoft 365 Cloud App Security from February 2019. The standalone SKU is retired from the February 1st price file.
  • Microsoft finally acknowledge PowerBI, Phone System and Audio Conferencing as potential E5 blockers, offering incremental access to advanced Compliance and Security services across the expansive E5 stack.
  • The Add On ‘mini bundles’ are targeted at Microsoft365 E3 customers, offering a ‘scale up’ model programmatically as a bundle, a new option in addition to standalone SKUs. A welcome addition in my opinion, even if the price point and product balancing is off.
  • Advanced Threat Intelligence (ATI) finds it’s home in in Advanced Threat Protection P2 within the new Identity & Threat Protection (ITP) bundle.
  • New Identity & Threat Protection (ITP) bundle is a new  ‘Add On’ for M365 E3 users – later renamed to a simpler ‘ E5 Security‘.
  • New Information Protection & Compliance (IPC) bundles is a new ‘Add On’ for M365 E3 users – later renamed to a simpler ‘E5 Compliance‘.
  • The new E5 Security ‘mini bundle’ SKU now includes:
    • O365 ATP P2 (Price decrease for existing Threat Intelligence at anniversary)
    • MCAS
    • Azure ATP
    • AADP2
    • Windows Defender ATP
  • The new E5 Compliance ‘mini bundle’ SKU now includes:
    • O365 Advanced Compliance
    • AIPP2
  • The Office365 Cloud App Security SKU will be discontinued.
  • The standalone MyAnalytics SKU will be discontinued.
  • Microsoft accelerated their strategy to  service customers directly as part of their wider ‘Modern Commerce’ strategy, with a  direct-to-customer move to target Azure customers and syphon relationships away from their channel. Initially targeting direct Azure-Only SCE’s to be replaced by a new Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA). One stated objective was to reduce cost of sale via the current partner-enabled SCE model. The important dates you should know –
    • 1st March 2019 – Sales Motion for SMC/Unmanaged Accounts to MCA
    • 1st April 2019 – Extended out to Enterprise/Managed Accounts
    • 1st August 2019 – No New or Renewed Azure-Only SCE’s
    • FY20+ – Expand to Hybrid SCE, Indirect EA and Public Sector
    • Extended Term Still Available
  • Microsoft expand Azure Reserved Instance (RI) reservations, with RDS to be released, 1 or 3 years upfront, akin to server subscriptions and can be tied to RI instances

Thanks All

Read moreMicrosoft Update January 2019

Microsoft Update December 2018

Some principle product and licensing updates for December 2018

  • The Office Professional Plus ‘Dual Use Rights’ for Microsoft365 ‘From SA’ was extended to August 2019, advance notice for companies to seriously look adopting Office365 ProPlus C2R.
  • Microsoft updated the CSP channel partner qualification criteria, requiring a partner performance assessment, requirement for advanced or premier support, and provision of Value Added Reseller (VAR) and Support service requirements. Microsoft continue to ‘streamline’ the partner reseller channel to enable their ‘Modern Commerce’ strategy.
  • Microsoft clarified the new licensing rules for advanced security and compliance features for Office365 Groups, with a group organizer only needed for ‘premium’ features, and a group mailbox inheriting the license of the organizer. This is important for Teams which is built on Groups.
  • Microsoft updated the Dynamics365 licensing  (an ongoing theme), with re-alignment of the ‘light tasks’ use rights, and broadly maintaining ‘read only’ access across Dynamics365 for knowledge sharing.
  • Microsoft cull the empowerment for Open Agreements, with the financial value of discount at $10,000 for Open and driving Open SMB customers towards CSP.
  • Microsoft open up eLearning, a traditional Software Assurance Benefit, with 80 hours of learning content at launch and certifications for core technologies like Azure and Dynamics.
  • Microsoft update to the Microsoft365 SKU, with a single item in the portal, not broken out into components, making the licenses easier to assign. The New SKUs would apply to new agreements and renewal only (rather than mid-term on a contract).
  • A new Meeting Room SKU for Microsoft Teams  SfBP2, Teams, Phone System, Audio Conferencing, Intune, Licensed Per Meeting Room Device (Notably Microsoft had a price list error for the SKU – MQH-00001 is incorrect – Do Not Order)
  • Microsoft Stream features moving broadly across Office365 SKUs – features include – speech to text transcription and speaker timelines that use facial detection to see who’s talking. Available across all Office365 E Plans, Firstline, Edu, SMB – Bus Essentials & Premium and M365 Business. 
  • Microsoft confirmed the MPSA Azure Retirement Extension & Automated Tool Release (MPSA to Azure CSP
  • Microsoft acquire FS Logix to bolster their Virtual Desktop capabilities in Azure.
  • Exchange Server 2019 will leave Extended support on Jan. 13, 2026, three months after Exchange Server 2016, so upgrading will not buy additional supported life.
  • Now included in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Microsoft is on course to deliver tools to move email, calendar, and contacts from Google G Suite to Office 365 (in reality, to Exchange Online) with an expected availability in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Microsoft Intune announces device-based subscription for shared resources and updated in the November Product Terms
  • Microsoft recognize silo of labels under Azure Info Protection (AIP) and O365 DLP polices, and merges unified labelling under Microsoft Info Protection in the Microsoft Security Compliance center.
  • Simplified licensing requirements for group-based licensing. Users who are targeted for group-based licensing need Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Basic (and above), or Office 365 E3/A3. The original messaging around Licensing appears to have been slightly relaxed:

Thanks All

Read moreMicrosoft Update December 2018

Microsoft Update November 2018

Some principle licensing updates for November 2018

  • Office 2019 perpetual entered General Availability in the Product Terms
  • The November Product Terms 2018 – Updated for Exchange and other Productivity Servers are updated for new 2019 versions.
  • Microsoft  announced for any CSP partner, starting November 7, 2018, you’ll need to confirm that a customer has accepted the Microsoft Cloud Agreement by providing information about the person who signed it. See ‘Confirm a customer’s acceptance of the Microsoft Cloud Agreement’ for more details. 
  • Effective November 2018 – Group Based licensing management is now (finally) Generally Available for Azure AD. Developer APIs in Microsoft Graph to allow you to programmatically read group-based licensing assignments on groups, as well as programmatically get assignment status and errors. Includes ability to reprocess group-based licensing assignments for a single user.
  • Microsoft Intune announces device-based subscription for shared resources and updated in the November Product Terms
  • Microsoft recognize silo of labels under Azure Info Protection (AIP) and O365 DLP polices, and merges unified labelling under Microsoft Info Protection in the Microsoft Security Compliance center.

Microsoft announced Extended Security Updates (ESU) for SQL Server and Windows Server

Read moreMicrosoft Update November 2018

Microsoft Update October 2018

As Microsoft push forward with 47% revenue growth in Q1 for commercial cloud, Microsoft push towards higher cost and expensive licensing ‘bundles’ to achieve record growth, implementing a swathe of price increases in October 2018.

  • As a CSP partner, 31st  October 2018, you can now change the billing frequency of a Subscription for the Online Services from monthly to annual, and vice versa. Updated billing article:
  • Mainstream support for Office Professional Plus 2016 ends 13th October 2020, and Microsoft extends support to October 2023. Extending interoperability with Office365 services.
  • Microsoft Product Price Changes, and Level A Waterfall Adjustment – Effective October 1st
  • Establishing a single, consistent starting price across all programs aligned to web direct for online services (OLS)
  • Removing the programmatic volume discounts (Level A and Open Level C) in Enterprise Agreement (EA)/EA Subscription, MPSA, Select/ Select Plus, and Open programs (Open, Open Value, Open Value Subscription). A programmatic approach to drive purchasing behaviours towards CSP for SMB customers.
  • Aligning government pricing for on-premises and online services to the lowest commercial price in EA/EAS, MPSA, Select Plus, and Open Programs
  • Delivering a newly designed Customer Price Sheet that better outlines how a customer’s price was derived (direct EA/EAS only)
  • Office 2019 commercial prices will increase 10 percent over current on-premises pricing
  • The price increase will include Office client, Enterprise CAL, Core CAL, and server products
  • Windows Enterprise E3 will now refer to the per user offer only- Windows 10 Enterprise E3 per User becomes Windows 10 Enterprise E3
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 per Device becomes Windows 10 Enterprise
  • The price of Windows 10 Enterprise will be raised to match the price of Windows 10 Enterprise E3
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E5 per device will be discontinued

Thanks All

Read moreMicrosoft Update October 2018

Microsoft Update March 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for March 2019 –

  • Microsoft announce the General Availability of Visual Studio 2019 with Community, and Professional and Enterprise. See the announcement
  • Microsoft General Availability of System Center 2019 See the announcement
  • Microsoft update the Home Use Program FAQs See the updated FAQs
  • Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 See the announcement
  • Microsoft improve website on Microsoft Plans See the Microsoft website
  • Microsoft create playbook for cloud migration for partners
  • CSP grew by 52% in 12 months See the announcement
  • $32 billion in revenue in the Q2 earnings with commercial cloud revenue increase of 48% year-over-year to $9 billion, and Azure by 76%
  • The Azure Expert MSP managed service program has grown to 43 partners that focuses on partners that drive consistent, repeatable, high-fidelity managed services on Azure and are driving more than $100,000 per month in Azure consumption
  • Microsoft Cloud Agreement forced via Partner Center API for CSP Partners – See Announcement 
  • Billing Change for Azure Reservations and Server Subscriptions for CSP  -all invoices for Azure reservations and server subscriptions transactions will be issued by the end of 8th calendar day (UTC) of the following month, consolidating the billing cycle for the specified offers.

Thanks All


This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright – Softspend Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update February 2019

Some of the principle licensing updates for February 2019 –

  • There is a new and improved licensing guide for Dynamics365 including (most) of the latest licensing updates – search for the January 2019 document.
  • Microsoft365 for Non Profit is now available in CSP
  • Changes to Office365 Student Use Benefit
    • New O365 A3/A5 offers in EES (Enrollment for Education Solutions)
    • Will provision correctly to the right set of service entitlement as part of Student Use Benefit
    • Existing customers to continue on original SKUs through agreement term
  • Azure Reservations expand availability – Reservation Discount now applies to:
    • Classic VMs or cloud services
    • RI’s must have ‘instance size flexibility’ option enabled
    • Dev/Test Subs
    • Can now centralise RI purchases by disabling the ‘Add Reserve Instance’ setting on enrolment
  • New CSP Direct to Indirect capability
  • Azure Visual Studio Cloud Subscriptions – Annual Subscriptions Removed and Monthly Subscriptions now Availabl
  • Microsoft announced CSP Multi-Year Subscriptions Pilot, reflecting their roadmap towards ‘Modern Commerce’. Initially available for Dynamics365, for 1-3Years. Microsoft support Annual or Monthly Billing. Narrow focus on Dynamics365 in Pilot, with Customer Engagement Plan, Unified Ops Plan, Device/Activity, and Team Members.Thanks All


    This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

    Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

    If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

    Copyright – Softspend Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Update July 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for July 2018

  • Technical Dependency- Office 2019 (C2R) and Office 2016 (MSI) cannot run concurrently on either Windows or Mac.
  • Technical Dependency – Office 2019, there is no MSI version offered.
  • Licensing –  Office 2019, there is no MSI version offered. “Office 2019 (for both Windows and Mac) is a one-time purchase and does not receive feature updates after purchase. Office 2019 includes a meaningful subset of features found in Office 365, but it is not part of Office 365.”
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Configuration Manager 2007 reaches the end of its support lifecycle on July 9, 2019. SoftwareONE recommend that customers migrate to the latest version of SCCM (current branch) as soon as possible.
  • Licensing – Microsoft confirm Windows Autopilot licensing requirements
  • Reference – Microsoft publish Windows Autopilot solution documentation at
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be end-of-support in less than 12 months, effective July 9th 2019

Read moreMicrosoft Update July 2018

Microsoft Update June 2018

June 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • New Features – Microsoft update the Office ribbon, to focus on the most common features, with one row of buttons rather than two. (Those of you who remember the menu before the introduction of the ribbon in 2007, may be smiling wryly)
  • New Features – Microsoft Planner integration improves with Outlook for Calendars, Microsoft Teams for visibility, and SharePoint for files
  • New Features – Microsoft Teams can now access SharePoint document libraries. There is also new persistent chat with options to mute , hide or leave a chat. New video features support cloud video recording for future playback.
  • New Features – Microsoft Sway improves with updates to the App for iOS to enable editing and preview, with better mobile UI features
  • New Feature – Microsoft365 Admin Center general availability providing a ‘single pane of glass’ for Office365, Enterprise Mobility & Security, and Windows 10.
  • New Feature – Microsoft release Windows Admin Center providing a complete administration experience for Windows Server
  • New Feature – Cluster Sets is a new feature coming in Windows Server 2019. Loosely-couple clusters together to allow for VM fluidity. Provide scale without loss of resiliency.
  • Licensing – Updated EA licensing guide for June 2018

Read moreMicrosoft Update June 2018

Microsoft Update May 2018

May 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • Licensing – Hybrid Use Benefit and Azure RI General Availability for Windows Server and SQL Server in Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) subscriptions expand the sourcing and license design options for customers
  • Licensing – Windows 10 deployments on Azure Stack require Windows USLs, or purchase through a Qualified Multitenant Hoster
  • Licensing – EULA for Windows Server Container Images
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft Calling Plans with Domestic and Domestic and International Plans available as User Subscription Licences and (all users need to be licensed with a Phone System User SL too), now available in Canada. with full geo availability available here:
  • Licensing – To take control of Office365 Groups, you will need more than Office365 subscriptions
  • New Feature – Microsoft To-Do receives feature updates
  • New Features – PowerBI Desktop
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure GDPR Data Subject Requests processing capability enters General Availability
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure AD B2B Collaboration improvements to meet GDPR obligations
  • Licensing – Mobile device management capabilities improve in the Microsoft 365 Business Plans
  • Resource (Licensing) – PowerBI Embedded Reports FAQs addresses licensing and licensing packages questions

Read moreMicrosoft Update May 2018

Microsoft Update April 2018

April 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Multi-Geo Tenancies enters General Availability
  • Licensing  – Azure  responds to AWS, now offers constrained core VMs enabling orgs to constrain the vCPU count to reduce the cost of software licensing
  • Licensing – Microsoft is expanding the editing capabilities of the Office mobile apps to Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Enterprise E1, Office 365 Education, and more. A qualifying subscription now allows view and edit documents, as well as unlock additional features when using the Office mobile apps Read the blog post or Read the announcement FAQ.
  • Licensing – SharePoint Online storage increase to 1 TB plus 10 GB per user license Some thinking presented on why Microsoft would suddenly be so generous, an obvious factor is the influence Teams and Office 365 Groups have on driving usage for SharePoint Online document libraries. After all, with so many document libraries in use, the old (insufficient) allocation was simply too small.
  • Licensing – “Office 2019 uses device-based licenses similar to previous major versions. Users will be able to sign in if they want to. However, they are not required to do this. Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) activation are available to volume license users for offline licensing. No Internet connection is required to use the product”.
  • New Feature – Office 365 Secure Score is now Microsoft Secure Score.. The logic is that the dashboard now includes Windows data as well as Office 365 data.
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft introduce Commercial Preview of Office 2019.
  • Licensing – Office 2019 will only be available as C2R “Click To Run” (FAQs)

Read moreMicrosoft Update April 2018