MPSA now permits Step-Ups

The August 2016 edition of the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement Licensing Manual announced Software Assurance (SA) Step-Up licenses may now be purchased on the MPSA.  This is a very welcome addition to the MPSA.

Below is an excerpt from page 6 of that document.


ECS being Replaced with Secure Productive Enterprise

July 21, 2016 - Update to the below blog.  

Microsoft has released additional information on the new Secure Productive Enterprise offering.  It will provide the following: 

  • On-premises productivity server entitlements including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business for any user licensed with Secure Productive Enterprise.
  • One on-premises install of Office Professional Plus per user.

Click here to learn more...


Microsoft announced on July 7th the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) is being replaced with a new offering named Secure Productive Enterprise.  I assume knowing how much Microsoft loves acronyms we should start referring to the new offering as the SPE.

Existing ECS customers who are being moved to the new SPE E3 on their next renewal should plan for an additional price increase beyond standard inflation based on the new capabilities noted in the above July 21 update to this post.

Windows 10 Enterprise is also getting renamed in this move and there will now be two editions, as shown in graphic 1 below.  The new Windows 10 Enterprise E5 will contain Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

ECS customers need to carefully analyze this change and determine if the new offering will create duplicate software capabilities within their existing environment.

Graphic 1 (Source - Microsoft Corporation)

SMB Windows Desktop Customers Left Hanging on a Cliff

November 6, 2017 - Update to the below blog.

Microsoft is now allowing SMB customers to acquire Windows E3 or E5 per User on a Cloud Agreement and run it as a virtual desktop on Azure or with a Authorized Qualified Multitenant Hoster (QMTH) Partner.  This is an improvement, but with limitations that are highlighted in the below URL.  This is not the same type of VDA rights users have with SA, and Windows on Cloud Agreements do not have SA.  SMB customers still have no option when it comes to user based Windows SA, unless they have enough size to purchase on an MPSA.

Click here to learn how to Configure VDA for Windows 10 Subscription Activation

October 3, 2016 - Update to the below blog. 

I am very sorry to report that the new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 available via the CSP channel on a Microsoft Cloud Agreement falls way short in my opinion...  

The new USL provides for up to 5 active physical installations, but does not include Software Assurance (SA) rights.  Yes, you heard me right, no SA rights!

What this means is all of the below items are not available:

  • Long Term Service Branch
  • MDOP
  • VDA
  • Virtual OS Support
  • WTG

And if that is not enough there are also no downgrade rights.  

August 3, 2016 - Update to the below blog.  

On July 12th at the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC), the below announcement was made.  It appears Microsoft has revealed how they plan to address the concerns raised in this blog post.  It is unclear if the new offering will also be available direct from Microsoft.

"Today, we are announcing Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP. Starting this fall, businesses can get enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at just $7 a seat per month for the first time through the Cloud Solution Provider channel."

Click here to lean more...


In February 2016 Microsoft removed Roaming Use Rights, a key Software Assurance (SA) benefit, from the Windows Desktop Operating System and Windows VDA.  This was a critical change that went unnoticed by most Microsoft customers.  The critical date for this change is January 31, 2017 or the end of a customer’s existing enrollment or agreement term, whichever is later.  The reference material section below contains the actual Microsoft verbiage.

So why is this such an important matter?  In order to answer this question we have to understand how business user computing has changed in the past 10 years.  If we go back a decade most users had a dedicated company issued PC and email on mobile phones was just starting to appear.  Fast forward five years and the average knowledge worker had multiple compute devices, which most likely included a company issued laptop, a smart phone, and a personal tablet.  As personal tablets became mainstream, employees pushed for access to their work environment while away from the office via these devices.  As technology evolved the introduction of the Windows virtual desktop arrived, which is also known as VDI.

VDI allows customers to install the Windows Desktop Operating System on a central server in the datacenter and then customers connect from both company owned devices, personal devices, and third party kiosks.  This new compute model was a licensing nightmare for Microsoft customers because Microsoft’s licensing models did not accommodate these scenarios.  Microsoft customers that accessed Windows VDI required each accessing device to be licensed.  This meant that every employee owned iPad or hotel kiosk where a VDI session was accessed required the Windows Desktop, Office, Project, and Visio be properly licensed.  As you can imagine licensing all third party devices an employee may access Windows VDI from was not practical nor cost effective. 

So in July 2010 Microsoft introduced a new Software Assurance benefit, Roaming Use Rights, to both the Windows Desktop, Windows VDA, and the Microsoft desktop applications (Office, Project, and Visio).   This new benefit allowed the primary user of a licensed device to access VDI from a qualified third party device while away from their office.  All third party devices used at the workplace still required the proper licenses.  The reference material section below contains the actual Microsoft verbiage for Roaming Use Rights.

In December of 2014 Microsoft introduced a user based licensing model for Windows Desktop and Windows VDA which was long overdue.  Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to provide SMB customers a path to acquire this desirable new subscription license.  The offering is only available on EA/EAS and MPSA, thus only customers with 250 or more employees can benefit from this new offering. The reference material section below contains the matrix from Microsoft showing how user based Windows and Windows VDA can be purchased as of June 2016.  As you can see Open Value and Open Value Subscription are not an option, and these are the licensing vehicles an SMB would purchase on.  It is very confusing why Microsoft made this decision, since they allow SMB customers to purchase single Office 365 enterprise subscription licenses. 

That takes us back to February of 2016 where Microsoft is now sending SMB customers back to the Windows Desktop licensing model that existed before July of 2010.  I am still dumb founded why Microsoft would do this without at least letting these customers know a new offering is coming that will provide like rights before they are slammed back in an archaic licensing model.  Please note that Roaming Use Rights for Office, Project, and Visio are all still in place as of June 2016, but who knows for how long.

I would like to point out this article also applies to customers who utilize Roaming Use Rights to run Windows To Go (WTG) on qualified third party devices.

So here we sit with all SMB customers who depend on Roaming Use Rights for Windows Desktop and Windows VDA hanging on a cliff heading for the January 31, 2017 deadline.  I reached out to the Microsoft licensing desk on April 27, 2016, they promised to escalate the issue and respond back to me in less than a week, I am still waiting for them to respond to me.

Reference Material Section:

Source Microsoft February 2016 Product Terms - Page 5

Windows Desktop Operating System: Roaming Rights for Windows Enterprise and Windows VDA is being discontinued as of either January 31, 2017 of the end of a Customer’s existing Enrollment or Agreement term, whichever is later.


Source Microsoft July 2010 Product Use Rights (PUR) – Page 5

Roaming Use Rights

As of July 1, 2010, we are expanding the product use rights for Windows Software Assurance, Windows Virtual Desktop Access (formerly known as VECD), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure CAL Suites, MDOP for Software Assurance, and Software Assurance for all editions of Office, Project and Visio to include Roaming Use Rights.  These new Roaming Use Rights will help to facilitate your users’ use of your virtual desktop infrastructure while they are away from the office.  The Roaming Use Rights permit the primary user of a licensed device to remotely access licensed software running in your datacenter from qualified third party devices.  In the case of Windows, Office, Project and Visio, these rights also permit the primary user’s use of the licensed software in a virtual machine on a qualified third party device.  See the Appendix 1 -- Software Assurance Benefits of this document for details.  All customers with active Software Assurance coverage or active subscription licenses for these products are eligible to use the software under these new rights.


Source Microsoft June 2016 Product Terms - Page 37

Red dot denotes not available on Open Value (OV) or Open Value Subscription (OVS)

Red dot denotes not available on Open Value (OV) or Open Value Subscription (OVS)

Running O365 on XenApp or XenDesktop + FSLogix = Success

August 3, 2016 - Update to the below blog post.

FSLogix Office 365 Container has officially released.  This is going to be a great add on for all O365 customers.

Click here to learn more...

If you are running Office 365 on XenApp or XenDesktop, then you need to include FSLogix Office 365 Container for Citrix.

Call my friends at FSLogix, they will make you look like a rock star to your management and customers!

Click here to learn more...

Your Right to Independent Microsoft Licensing Advice

Microsoft licensing and contracts are complicated and require very careful attention to detail, and for this reason many customers turn to third party advisory firms to supplement their internal knowledge.  These third party firms act as subject matter experts in the area of software licensing and contacts.

I can assure you Microsoft does not like this at all.  Internally Microsoft has labeled these organizations as “Third Party Negotiators”, they refer to them as TPNs for short.  In fact when a Microsoft suspects or confirms a customer has engaged a TPN, they are required to follow an internal notification and escalation process.

It is interesting that Microsoft has lumped all third party advisory firms into the single category of TPNs.  In fact the use of the word negotiator is most interesting, since not all of these firms negotiate for their customers.  SoftwareAdvocates® mission is simple – “Make sure our clients do not over pay Microsoft and they stay compliant with Microsoft”, we are not in the negotiation business.

As Microsoft continues turning over its workforce to bring in the next generation of employees the existing employees still have a need and desire to work, and many of those employees possess licensing and contract expertise.  As a result these former employees skilled in licensing and contracts are becoming independent consultants to the very customers they use to sell to when at Microsoft.

There are also third party firms comprised of persons who never worked at Microsoft.  Some of them come from the Microsoft reseller community and others come from non-affiliated backgrounds.  In the last few years the Microsoft TPN community has been steadily growing.

Back in October of 2015 Microsoft posted the job description at the bottom of this article to counter the impact of the TPN community.  Clearly they believe TPNs are costing them revenue and they are not going to stand idly by.  We will let you be the judge whether the below job description is focused on Microsoft’s best interest or the customers.  If you are curious what OTRRR stands for, it is “on time revenue recognition and renewal” and it is a big deal to Microsoft.  Thus Microsoft wants to make sure renewals happen on time and are larger than the previous one.

If Microsoft tells you are not permitted to engage a third party firm, then here is some food for thought.  The Microsoft Master Business Services Agreement (MBSA) between your organization and Microsoft clearly permits both sides to engage third parties provided proper confidentiality is in place.  If Microsoft is asking you to relinquish your rights to engage third parties, please ask them if they are going to relinquish their rights too.  We suspect they will say no, so why would you say yes?

If Microsoft ever removes this language from the current MBSA, then you should make sure they never send a third party in place of Microsoft to act on their behalf with your organization, and in case you are not aware Microsoft relies on third parties to conduct audits.   As you can see this would present a problem for Microsoft.

Make sure to do your due your diligence when selecting a third party firm, including talking to existing clients. We recommend being very careful of any third party firm who works on a cost share basis.  We can tell you SoftwareAdvocates® has never been in the cost share business and we do not see us ever doing so.  Separation of pay and advice are critical to unbiased service in our opinion.

Here is a quick list of rights we believe you are entitled to when working with any software publisher.

·        You have the right to engage a third party subject matter expert if you desire.

·        Clear and concise responses to all of your contract and licensing questions.

·        Understand how to measure and calculate software and subscription service license compliance.

·        All promises are written and referenced in your executed agreements.


Microsoft Job posting from October 2015 (copyright the Microsoft Corporation)

Job # 931626

Locations United States, Other ﴾United States﴿

Job families Sales

Teams Sales

Sr Licensing Sales Spec EPG

While the standard Microsoft Job Title is Sr. LSS this role is more aimed at enabling strategic negotiations than licensing ‐ though a solid understanding of how we monetize our IP though licensing is required. This Strategic Negotiation Consultant is a strategic Sales role for the US and serves as a critical enabler to building solid negotiation foundations, mitigating the impact of Third Party Negotiators and scaling these practices through the US and world.

This Black Belt Negotiation Subject Matter Expert will be focused on the following:

Engaging with and mitigating the impact of Third Party Negotiators

Tracking new trends in negotiations with Microsoft and developing responses

Engaging with and assisting account teams on some of our most challenging negotiations

Consulting with the broader field sellers on negotiation tactics and developing solid a negotiation foundation

Driving our negotiation “Discounting Principles”

Serving as a corporate escalation point for field sellers

Providing valuable insights back to leadership

The Strategic Negotiation Consultant will provide thought leadership and readiness to all of our selling communities ‐ driving and supporting knowledge transfer of essential negotiation skills between team members and the broader sales force. They will also act as mentor leveraging, among other means, regional summits, monthly ATU, STU and LSS calls, and customer planning sessions.

 Primary Job Functions

 Contribute to the overall account plan by developing appropriate negotiation strategies to grow revenue, drive deal velocity and limit discounting.

 Assist ATU, STU and Licensing teams in implementing a consistent process for building a strong negotiation foundation.

 Jointly with ATU, STU, Licensing Teams, negotiate with customers to maximize contract value and Customer Satisfaction

 When appropriate, lead the customer negotiations and own all the negotiation phases on behalf of Microsoft

 Understand and apply the Field Empowerment Guidelines and “Right Price Right Customer” principles + tools to close “good business” efficiently and with maximum profitability. Consult with the Business Desk to create appropriate exceptional solutions for exceptions beyond Field Empowerment.

 Ensure proliferation of negotiation best practices through the US and World Wide.

 Key Metrics

Discount reduction

Revenue Attainment/growth

Deal velocity ﴾OTRRR﴿

Third Party Impact reduction

Revenue Growth


Min 5 years of front line negotiation experience

3‐5 Years of related Licensing Sales experience

Bachelor’s Degree Required, MBA Preferred

Experience coaching sellers through the negotiation process

Experience in business management and program management/execution


Migrating Microsoft Software Licenses to Shared Hosting Services

With increased pressure to maintain and increase top line earnings organizations are looking at all options to reduce cost.  One of those options is moving from dedicated data centers to shared hosting services.  There are no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to shared hosting services, which is great for organizations wishing to outsource their data center needs.  

What is often overlooked in the process is software licensing.  Software licensing models are often very different when it comes to shared hosting services.  Microsoft is no exception and the software licensing rules that apply to on premise software are not the same in a shared hosted environment.

Microsoft offers volume licensing customers the option to move certain on premise software licenses to a Microsoft Authorized Mobility Partner.  This option is one of the benefits of active Software Assurance (SA) and requires the customer maintain active SA to continue leveraging the benefit known as License Mobility through Microsoft Software Assurance.

It is also very important to point out that some Microsoft software licenses will have different product use rights when moved to a Microsoft Authorized Mobility Partner.  Customers with heavy investments in private SQL Server clouds may find their costs significantly increasing when they move their SQL Server to a shared hosting service at a Microsoft Authorized Mobility Partner. 

Please note there is a formal verification process Microsoft requires to leverage License Mobility through Microsoft Software Assurance.

I strongly recommend software licensing is front end center when considering migrating your organization to a shared hosting service.


Turbo Charge Your SAM Program with the SAM Charter Process Kit: Version 2

Do you want to take your organization's SAM program to the pinnacle of success?  If yes, then you are in luck because SAM Charter has recently released version 2 of the SAM Charter Process Kit.

Most SAM programs struggle to get off the ground, and often they confuse tools as a substitute for people and process.  I often hear I wish there was a turnkey solution to launching my SAM program.  The good news is the SAM Charter Process Kit: Version 2 is the solution you have been searching for and at a fraction of the cost of a professional services engagement.

Rory Canavan has taken his many years of SAM experience and learning's and put them into a single solution set that is easy to understand and implement. The kit is available in three forms: eBook, Process Maps, and my favorite the bundle with the eBook and Process Maps. 

If you make only one SAM related purchase, then it should be the SAM Charter Process Kit: Version 2.  And before you even think about purchasing any SAM tool, you should first invest in the SAM Charter Process Kit: Version 2.

Let the SAM Charter Process Kit: Version 2 be your personal Sherpa to SAM success!

Please click here to learn more about the SAM Charter Process Kit: Version 2

Self Hosted Applications under Product Terms

In looking through the last PUR Microsoft published I noticed an interesting section covering self hosted applications under software assurance was not carried forward to the new Microsoft Product Terms.  I am not sure why, but I thought it was interesting and decided to share it with my readers.

The below section appears on page 72 of the April 2015 PUR, but was not carried over to the new Product Terms.

Changes to Use Rights

"Despite the terms of your volume licensing agreement, we may modify or discontinue the above use rights at any time. However, if we do so, these use rights and the terms and conditions of your license agreement continue to apply to your use of the Self-Hosted Applications under licenses acquired before the effective date of that change until the end of your current term of Software Assurance coverage"