Microsoft has announced changes to volume licensing plans that aim to let organisations mix perpetual and subscription-based software with cloud services in a way that best makes sense to the customer.
The firm also ended Select Plus licensing and doubled the minimum requirement for Enterprise Agreement licensing to 500 users or devices.
Microsoft said that it will introduce a new Enterprise Advantage plan sometime in 2017 as an extension of the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) unveiled in January. The move is part of a wider effort by the company to simplify its software licensing.
In fact, Microsoft appears to be positioning Enterprise Advantage as the eventual replacement for the current Enterprise Agreement volume licensing scheme. The firm claimed that the new plan will offer the same Enterprise Agreement benefits, including products, prices and coverage, but with greater flexibility to align to a customer's purchasing structure and needs.
This flexibility includes the freedom to mix perpetual and subscription licensed on-premise software with any of Microsoft's cloud services like Office 365 and Azure, and to increase or decrease subscriptions and services as required, in order to meet ever-changing business needs.
"At launch, Enterprise Advantage on MPSA will be available for all commercial customers in markets where the MPSA is available, but will be the optimal choice for most customers with up to 2,400 users or devices," said Richard Smith, Microsoft's general manager for worldwide licensing and pricing, writing on the firm's Volume Licensing Blog.
"We anticipate introducing similar offerings called Government Advantage and Education Advantage later in 2017, and will continue to build additional functionality over time to support all of our customers with modern licensing choices."
Meanwhile, Microsoft said that the planned retirement of the Select Plus licensing scheme has now come into effect. Customers with existing agreements will not be able to place orders through this plan from their next anniversary date, and are encouraged to move to MPSA licensing.
Also now in effect is a change to the minimum commitment for customers on the Enterprise Agreement volume licensing scheme. Organisations signing up for new Enterprise Enrolments or Enterprise Subscription Enrolments must now sign up for a minimum of 500 users or devices, up from 250.
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