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The Truth About Microsoft’s New Licensing Change – Guest Post

by Jonah Kowall  |  January 23, 2015  |  48 Comments

The press has been reporting today that Microsoft has introduced new licensing methods, which make Windows and Office look highly affordable. Here is an example article : http://www.computerworld.com/article/2867542/microsoft-touts-7-per-user-monthly-pricing-for-windows-subscriptions.html “Microsoft touts $7-per-user monthly pricing for Windows subscription packages”. Here at Gartner we have several experts who focus on Microsoft licensing, Dolores is one such person. I’ve asked her to do a guest post.

This is a guest post by Dolores Ianni, follow her on twitter @dmianni

“the suite costs between $7 and $12 per user per month”

 Let’s clear the smoke here. The price range mentioned above is for the ECS ADD-ON PRODUCT and therefore you would also need to pay for SA across the enterprise desktop components on premises so it does not represent the full cost of the desktop license by any stretch.  When you add them together you will see where this is well beyond the price of a cup of coffee.

The Full ECS USL is more than 4 times the cost of the ECS Add-on. When compared to traditional Office 365 enterprise desktop w/client OS by device the Full ECS USL has a premium so you have to consider all the features in the ECS Bundle. With deeper discounting for early adopters many customers will find the ECS cheaper and will jump on the Mega-bundle band wagon. It is strategic to MS as it attaches services like Intune and Azure AD Premium into accounts that otherwise would have no need at this time. The Windows Enterprise SA by-User options do have a compelling price point for those organizations that have BYOD and virtual desktops in an Enterprise Agreement.

There are some compelling aspects of the ECS depending on user requirements across the enterprise and many pros and cons to licensing the add-on subscriptions, for a more in depth analysis you’ll find new research publishing this quarter on the ECS which outlines all of the comparisons and issues to consider when selecting the traditional Office 365 vs. ECS bundle vs. the add-on options.

Thanks for reading, please leave comments here and or on twitter. Thank you to Dolores for her posting.

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Jonah Kowall
Research Vice President
3.5 years with Gartner
20 years IT industry

Jonah Kowall is a research Vice President in Gartner's IT Operations Research group. He focuses on application performance monitoring (APM), Unified Monitoring, Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD), Infrastructure Performance Monitoring (IPM), IT Operations Analytics (ITOA), and general application and infrastructure availability and performance monitoring technologies. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on The Truth About Microsoft’s New Licensing Change – Guest Post


  1. Larry Wells says:

    It’s really great that Microsoft has introduced new licensing methods, where Windows and outlook are highly affordable. Good move!!

  2. Very insightful, Jake. Thank you for the Q&A follow-up. This part of your answer to the first question is encouraging “Because changes in the buyer’s purchase journey and digital marketing activities replaced certain activities previously performed by sales. This is an increase over the 55 of respondents who reported the same thing last year.” — That being said, I wonder how many CMOs choose to fund Account-Based Marketing programs, even though the majority ‘mainstream customer’ demand for substantive and actionable content — particularly at the front-end of the buyer’s journey — is still under-funded.

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    good job and tx alot

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