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What’s in a name? Microsoft package and licensing changes

by Stephen White  |  October 4, 2016  |  Comments Off on What’s in a name? Microsoft package and licensing changes

Microsoft are ringing the changes

Periodically we see a set of licensing changes from Microsoft. Early in 2016 a number were announced or took effect. This month, immediately following a naming convention change from Google we see a number of Microsoft changes taking effect, several of which incorporate repackaging or branding alongside evolution of product licensing,.

Secure Productive Enterprise replaces Enterprise Cloud Suite, as announced by Microsoft during WPC in July – keep an eye out for dedicated research being published on this subject. In advance of that being available, readers may note that page 54 of the October Product Terms shows Microsoft have provided some additional use rights in both the E3 and E5 editions whereby:

  • Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business Server installations on-premises have been included within the subscription
  • Plus a local installation of Office Professional Plus may be installed where From SA SKUs are qualified for.

We note firstly that the installations of Office are specifically stated as local (no VM or streaming) and neither the server or Office installations are granted SA rights – therefore, for example, no licence mobility would be granted to those Server installations.

Secondly it appears Microsoft’s intent is to allow existing Enterprise Cloud Suite clients to migrate to Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and therefore acquire the additional use rights as stated in FAQs, and we quote:

Existing Enterprise Cloud Suite customers are now Secure Productive Enterprise E3 customers and therefore inherit the Productivity Server Rights as a Secure Productive Enterprise benefit. In most cases, customers will not need to continue to purchase additional server licenses.

This migration of use rights however does not appear to have initially been reflected in the October Product Terms however.

Third, the premium edition E5 includes a variety of additional features which Enterprise Cloud Suite clients are not obliged to subscribe to and thus avoid price increases for what may represent shelfware. Conversely, perhaps those clients for example the inclusion of security capabilities for example at the price level / package they committed to?

And fourth … The E3 and E5 packages also do beg the question – should Microsoft clients expect a ‘light’ E1 package based on the Office 365 offering of the same name?


Enterprise Mobility changes in line with the introduction of Secure Productive Enterprise. In addition to Windows 10 naming changes already taking place, introducing E3 and E5 variants in August. Enterprise Mobility Suite is now named Enterprise Mobility and Security with E3 and E5 variants – additional features being built into the E5 variant, plus a renaming of Azure Rights Management to Azure Information Protection Premium (Plans 1 and 2). It appears Microsoft’s intent to migrate existing Enterprise Mobility Suite users to Enterprise Mobility and Security E3 as reflected in the link above, however as with Secure Productive Enterprise the newly released Product Terms don’t confirm the migration path currently.

Azure RemoteApp has been withdrawn from volume licensing after a short life span following Microsoft announcing in August new purchases would be limited in preference of working in partnership with Citrix

Windows Server 2016 licensing changes were announced some time ago and mentioned in a previous post and a dedicated research note. Most notably from today Windows Server, System Center and Core Infrastructure Suite will be licensed on a per-core basis rather than per-processor, whereby use of more than 8 cores per processor will increase licensing costs. Microsoft October Product Terms have been published and also point to a different approach for licensing containers, where Windows Server Containers are unlimited (see page 47) whilst Hyper V Containers carry the same limitations as full VMs (defined on page 72).

Following Australian, UK, Canadian and German locations, Microsoft have today announced that datacenters to host Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics will be offered from France in 2017

And Finally … Delve Analytics – a component of Office 365 E5 becomes MyAnalytics

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Category: cloud  licensing  

Tags: cloud-contract  enterprise-agreement  licenisng  microsoft  office-365  saas  software-asset-management  

Stephen White
Research Director
4 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Stephen White is a Research Director in Gartner's IT Asset Management, Vendor Management and Procurement team, focusing on strategic licensing and negotiation strategies, asset management, and reseller engagement. Mr. White leverages his experience in software sales and consulting to assist IT leaders through his coverage of best practices in license life cycle strategy and trends, license metric and pricing practices, contract negotiations, optimizing terms and conditions, sourcing, and relationship management. Read Full Bio

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