Change is coming to Microsoft Office licensing. How will you be affected?

 In Microsoft, Office 365, Software

This post was updated on Dec. 12, 2018.

The new release of Office is upon us and with it, some updates to licensing. On October 1, 2018, Microsoft made a significant change to its Product Terms related to an important use right associated with Microsoft 365 E3/E5 “From SA” suites.

What changed?

Previously, Microsoft 365 (M365) customers that purchased “From SA” were allowed to install Office Professional Plus with MSI bits, as opposed to adopting the Office 365 Pro Plus click-to-run installation methodology. This provided organizations space and time to plan their deployment for click-to-run, without feeling rushed into doing so. Beginning August 1, 2019, that allowance will no longer be offered.

For customers with active Enterprise Agreements (EAs) that have purchased “From SA,” this change will not immediately take effect. The right to install MSI bits still applies over the course of the enrollment term. However, once the EA expires, that right will be removed, and there will no longer be a dual right to MSI installs.

Customers that moved from a Software Assurance position to M365, and have fully paid licenses (i.e., not subscriptions) will still own their licensing in perpetuity. These licenses, however, will default to the version that was available when the Software Assurance originally expired.

If you moved to M365 in November 2015 or later, you own the rights to the 2016 version. If you moved prior to November 2015, the default version becomes 2013. Ownership of the licenses will be based off the quantity, or device count, that expired at that time. The organizations that default to 2013 will be the most impacted by this change.

What does this mean if you fall into either of these categories?

If you own the rights to the 2016 version, you can continue business as usual for the total number of devices you had covered before the move to M365. Any growth in addition to this quantity will be required to be moved to the click-to-run installation.

If you own the rights to the 2013 version, you will either need to move to click-to-run at renewal or downgrade to Office 2013 if the device is on version 2016.

Not ready for the cloud just yet? Not a problem.

If you are not ready for the cloud just yet and need to maintain on-premises rights, there is an option for you at renewal. Just as Microsoft allowed you to move to the cloud with “From SA,” it will also allow you to move back on premises with SA only on a renewal. This SA renewal will default to the quantity that was fully paid for at the time of expiration.

You likely have further questions about what this means for your organization. We’re here to help – contact your SHI account executive today to talk through how best to handle this change.

Lisa Ragantesi contributed to this post.

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