Microsoft claims the latest step in its "licensing transformation", the Enterprise Advantage, will help customers get the best value from its licences.
The Enterprise Advantage will come into force in 2017 and is a new way for commercial customers to buy company-wide licences on the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). MPSA was launched in 2013 and is one of the main Microsoft licensing vehicles, along with the Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programme.
Microsoft claims the Enterprise Advantage brings traditional Enterprise Agreement benefits to MPSA and gives customers the best value for three-year, company-wide purchases. Customers are able to mix perpetual and subscription software with cloud services such as Office 365, Azure and CRM Online, the firm said, adding that they will have more predictable budgets and price protection too.
Dan Scarfe, founder of Dot Net Solutions, welcomed the news.
"It's something we view as being very positive, and anything Microsoft does to simplify licensing has to be a good thing," he said. "For Microsoft to be able to offer customers the flexibility of an MPSA agreement but while inheriting some of the benefits of an Enterprise Agreement, from what I know, has to be a good thing."
Kelvin Kirby, CEO of Technology Associates, agreed and said the move will "unfog" the complex Microsoft licensing system.
"Anything that simplifies licensing is a godsend - licensing has been way too complex for a long time," he said. "This will enable customers to purchase hybrid and cloud at the same time and it is great. It's going to declutter licensing and I am positive about it."
While the Enterprise Advantage will not come into force until 2017, a number of licensing changes came in from Friday – the start of Microsoft's financial year.
Select Plus has now been retired, meaning customers can no longer purchase licences through those agreements from their next anniversary date, and instead, have to go through MPSA, which Microsoft described as a "more modern licensing option".
From now on, the minimum Enterprise Agreement commitment has increased as well.
"For commercial customers signing new Enterprise Enrolments or Enterprise Subscription Enrolments, the minimum commitment increases today to 500 from 250 users or devices," said Microsoft.
"For new commercial customers with 250 to 499 users or devices, we recommend the MPSA, or the CSP programme for those looking for partner-managed services. MPSA and CSP are the fastest and most flexible ways to buy from Microsoft."
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