Significant Microsoft Pricing & Licensing Changes Are Coming December 1st, 2012

In the last couple of weeks, Microsoft has discreetly made significantly changes both in terms of licensing and pricing that will go into effect on December 1st.

Since Microsoft is not pushing communications of many of these changes directly to end customers, the supporting info is limited and requires walking through MS pricelists, updated Product Use Rights (PUR), and Partner FAQs.  Below are some of the highlights coming in December.

I highly recommend you touch base with your Softchoice Account Manager and dedicated Softchoice Microsoft Specialist to better understand how these changes will impact your organization along with developing options to best mitigate additional & unforeseen costs.

All Microsoft Server-CAL Products Affected  (Documented in Partner FAQ and will be visible on December price-list available November 1st)

  • All User CAL costs are increasing 15%
  • Device CAL costs remain the same

Microsoft believes it is time to take these steps with respect to the user CALs. The market has changed in the last decade and users are working from many different devices today. Here are the three primary drivers of increased value for customers in the user CAL.

  1. Increased value in support across devices:  Microsoft’s next generation of server products deliver more value for user based licensing. As an example the new version of Office, and the underlying servers that support its functionality, will now work with many more devices.
  2. Increased number of devices:   It is clear there has been an explosion of consumer devices which are proliferating rapidly into business. We believe, on average, there are 3 or more devices per information worker employee in companies today.   With the introduction of Window 8 there will be another boost in business ready, consumer oriented hardware that will continue to fuel this device proliferation trend. The more devices people use, the greater the value of user-based licensing.
  3. Manageability and Compliance:  User CAL licensing also simplifies manageability and compliance.  In the past, IT departments purchased and asset tagged all hardware used by employees. It was easy for IT to count and license the number of devices being used by their company. With the consumerization of IT this trend is changing. IT no longer has a good sense for how many devices are being used to access company resources and find it easier to count and track the number of employees they have.  In fact many of our customers report that ease of counting users makes user-based licensing much more valuable than device-based licensing.


  • SharePoint Server is moving to one version, no more Internet Site edition, both internal and external use will be supported.   (Documented in the Microsoft PUR)

Lync Server

  • Lync Server to be consolidated to one edition.
  • No more External Connector.  (Documented in the Microsoft PUR)
  • No more Public IM Connectivity License (AOL, MSN/Messenger, Google Talk, and Skype (next year) are supported out of the box).

Exchange Server

  • No more External Connector.  (Documented in the Microsoft PUR)

Enterprise CAL Suite Changes – License Realignment(Documented in Partner FAQ and will be visible on December pricelist available November 1st)

  • Forefront UAG CAL will be removed from ECAL 3.0.
  • Forefront Protection Suite is being retired with support ending January 1st 2016.
  • Exchange Online Archiving will be added.
  • Exchange Online Protection and DLP will be added.

Again, these are big changes with substantial consequences. Please get a hold of your Softchoice Account Manager today. If you don’t know who your Account Manager is or don’t have one, feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me and I will assist you.

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About Luke Black

Luke Black is a Business Development Manager for Microsoft at Softchoice residing in his hometown of Chicago. Luke has been passionate about the Technology industry for more than 15 years and continues to bring solutions to customers leveraging limited resources, do more.