Spring 2017 brings changes and updates for Microsoft Product Terms

Spring is here. A time of change, a time of new cycles. Microsoft is all about that and to be in tune with the arrival of the new season. Microsoft has made some changes and updates to its Product Terms documentation. To help you start on the right foot, we have collected the updates and changes from January to March and wrapped them in this article.

What are the Microsoft Product Terms?

The Microsoft Product Terms documentation reflects the terms and conditions associated with Microsoft’s Volume Licensing (VL) products. These are updated on a monthly basis. This should be the “go to” document for each Microsoft end user, as it contains information about what software can be deployed and under what condition(s). As such you can learn from the Product Terms documentation how products migrated, what new products have been added or removed and any changes to the specific use rights. Before July 2015, this information was published in the Product List and Product User Rights documentation.

Here are the highlights from January to March:


Name changes for Operations Management Suite and Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery

Operations Management Suite is now known as Operations Management and Security

Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery lost its “tail” and is now known as Office 365.

This is just a name change which doesn’t bring any licensing impact. We see this from time to time when Microsoft wants to align their naming convention crosswise their product families.

System Center Client Management Suite is no longer available

Previously, end users who wanted to manage their client devices (such as desktops and laptops) could purchase the System Center Client Management Suite which was a bundle of four products:

Data Protection Manager

Operations Manager

Service Manager


As of January, the suite option is not available anymore. These components can only be purchased and licensed individually, with separate Client Management Licenses.

This change brings a bit more flexibility for organizations which don’t need the entire suite and a possible price increase for organizations wanting all four components.


Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) can now be licensed on a Per User basis

Windows Virtual Desktop Access was previously only available as a “Per Device” licensing model. With this new change, Microsoft align to its general licensing strategy as it did with Windows 10, which can also be licensed on a “Per User” basis.

The Windows VDA Per User can be purchased as an add-on to the existing VDA license, thus enabling a user to connect from multiple devices without having to license all of them separately.

This is a potential good saving opportunity for organizations with a higher ratio of devices to users which can be implemented without major changes in their licensing scenario.

New cloud services additions 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Plan 1 Enterprise edition Add-on

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Plan 1 Enterprise edition From SA

It’s no secret that Microsoft is trying to convince their end users to move to the cloud. With the addition of these complementary products, we see Microsoft building yet another bridge towards their cloud strategy. The add-on license allows end user organizations licensed with Dynamics CRM to access the functionality of Dynamics 365. With From SA licenses you can now replace the SA for perpetual licenses with active Software Assurance.

The qualifying licenses for these products are as follows:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Basic Client Access License (CAL)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales On-premises Client Access License (CAL)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service On-premises Client Access License (CAL)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional Client Access License (CAL)

In software licensing, benefits sometimes come with caveats, so is the case for “From SA” licenses. As per the Product Terms, “From SA User SLs (Subscription License) may be purchased instead of SA for fully paid, perpetual Licenses with active SA for the Qualifying Products”.

In other words, end users can choose instead of buying Software Assurance for a perpetual license, to trade that for a qualifying subscription license which will be valid during the period of the agreement. While opting to use a SL, you renounce your rights to the perpetual license. You can only (re)use the perpetual license after the agreement is closed or expires and you no longer make use of the Subscription License. This benefit adds an unwanted extra layer of complexity to your SAM process.

Pay As You Go (PAYG) Azure is no longer part of the MPSA offering

PAYG Azure is no longer part of the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement for new customers. The replacing program for PAYG Azure is the Cloud Solution Provider agreement. However, existing MPSA customers can continue to make use of PAYG Azure.

Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is no longer part of the Volume Licensing offering

With an ever-declining mobile market share, this move is not a surprise. This version of the OS was designed for mobile devices such as phones and tablets and was part of the Volume Licensing offering.


Premium Assurance

Another important addition is the introduction of Premium Assurance. This new offering is available as an Add-on to the regular Software Assurance and is aimed at customers wishing to maintain support services for legacy servers or applications for a longer period. How long? 16 years long: 5 years Mainstream Support + 5 years Extended Support + 6 years Premium support.

Looking at how the rate of cybercrime increases nowadays, I am sure that this support service will be well received. Again, with the risk of repeating myself, in software licensing some benefits come with caveats:

Premium Assurance covers only “Critical” and “Important” updates as defined in the “Security Bulletin Severity Rating System”.

Premium Assurance requires a new or pre-existing Software Assurance contract.

The pricing increases depend on the moment of purchase.

The later you decide to purchase it the costlier it will be (mode details here):

The earliest versions you can purchase Premium Assurance for are SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. It will only cover the main editions: Standard Enterprise and Datacenter.

It has a limited program availability and can only be purchased in:

Enterprise Agreement (EA);

Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS);

Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE);

Enrollment for Educational Solutions (EES);

Premium Assurance comes with an “all or nothing” clause. In other words, Premium Assurance can only be purchased for all licenses with active Software Assurance or not at all.

These were the most important points reflected in the last three editions of the Product Terms documentation. Software Licensing is a full-time job, thus keep that in mind if you want to do it properly.

If you would like to simplify your software license management, do not hesitate to contact us.