Microsoft Licensing and Services Update September 2017

Hitting Refresh

This week we have seen updates coming out of the MS Ignite conference in the US. Microsoft have announced Office 2019 ‘perpetual’ aimed at on-premises customers, expected in the second half of 2018, but how does this align with their wider ‘hit refresh’ strategy led by Satya Nadella, to deliver a $20 Billion run-rate cloud business?

Microsoft’s licensing models and commercial strategy greatly incentivise standardisation on an always-up-to-date platform for productivity and communication supported by the Microsoft Cloud. Microsoft exemplify this strategy through the cloud-supported Office C2R client with ongoing security and feature updates provided by Microsoft.

The new generation of cloud supported applications and operating systems act as a ‘traffic light’ that are switched on from ‘red, to amber and then green’. Under the traditional on-premises software model, access to new server features where accessed by upgrade of the Office client to the latest software version on a four or five year run lifecycle. Microsoft have increased this release and update cadence, with an extensive ecosystem of Office365 and Azure Identity Services accessed by Office, and Windows 10, and supported by SCCM, via a continuous service feature and support model, without end-of-support dates on a semi-annual release schedule.

To encourage upgrade of the Office ecosystem, Microsoft made a recent blog announcement  that as of October 2020, the traditional Office on-premise MSI application access to Office365 services will end at the expiration of “mainstream” support. Impacting customers limited to Office 2016 or 2013 releases and driving customers to ‘make a decision’.

Microsoft may have now confirmed a new MSI release of Office 2019 for next year, but importantly, are inferring this is targeted at customers who are running on-premises environments. Their support for “office perpetual” interoperability with cloud services, and the available programmes it will be sold under, remains to be seen.

Microsoft News

Some principle recent Microsoft updates, for September 2017 –

  • Microsoft announce Office 2019 “Perpetual”
  • Office365 Use Metering and ‘Reader Role’ designation for Usage Reporting
  • Office365 Usage Analytics and will reach general availability in the beginning of 208, including new metrics on teamwork and collaboration, usage data for Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Office 365 Groups
  • Office365 Advanced Usage Analytics is also planned. Transmit the Office365 usage dataset to the Azure data store and join with user metadata from Azure AD.
  • SCCM ‘Transition to Modern’ evolves from Windows10 and Office365 ProPlus, WSUS to WUfB, SCCM to Cloud Content Delivery, Win32 to Modern Apps
  • System Center release cadence, expect 1801 in 2018. Active Software Assurance for access to Semi-Annual channel.
  • Microsoft Azure competes with AWS with regional “Availability Zones”
  • Azure Cost Management services will be free for all customers. Microsoft Responds to demands of Cloud Spend Management
  • Microsoft EA (Enterprise Agreement) Azure cost reporting, enters preview
  • Microsoft365 F1 a bold move to target a wider addressable market. At circa $10/u/m  and 2B users, you can see why
  • Microsoft SQL Enterprise Edition SA and PowerBI Premium subscribers will access PowerBI report server
  • Microsoft announce SQL Hybrid Use Benefit to leverage SA for Azure SQL DB and discounted SSIS rates on data Factory
  • Azure SQL DB includes Database Managed Instance – offers managed PaaS
  • SQL Server 2017 will be available for purchase in October 2nd
  • RedHat SQL offer – 30% off SQL 2017 subscription on Linux, and additive 30% off RHEL OS when purchased together
  • Microsoft announce Microsoft365 Education. New A3 and A5 flavours
  • Microsoft365 Education – A3 and E5. Office365 A1 also available. Compare plans :
  • Self-Password Reset and Writeback to on-premises AD is a popular Azure AD Premium P1 Feature. However, the licensing not enforced
  • Run a report to identify unlicensed users of Azure AD Premium i.e. users and apps using Conditional Access
  • New Azure flex CPU VMs “build burst credits” and access full vCPU when you need them:
  • Microsoft state direction of merging of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams
  • Skype Cloud PBX renamed to ‘Microsoft Phone System’, PSTN Services renamed ‘Calling Plan’
  • You can now Restrict Windows 10 license reactivation and active state reporting to Microsoft
  • Microsoft Teams – for users who leave the organisation, their chat history is maintained, with identity anonymised.

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

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