Microsoft Product Terms, minor change, major impact?

From an ITAM point of view, you would like to have a solid overview of your license entitlements, including their use rights and rules. But sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything that changes in the world of "licenses".

TIP #47 - June 2020: What is the impact of Microsoft Product Terms changes for your organisation? In this tip we take a closer look.

Take the change in the Microsoft Product Terms of May 2020 for example: A minor change with a much larger impact than you may expect at first glance.

Microsoft has added one additional line to the Product Terms in the “From SA” section. One line only which seems to be a minor adjustment, but it may have serious implications. As of May 2020, Microsoft now requires that underlying perpetual licenses need to be retained as long as the online “From SA” subscriptions run. 

These specific “From SA” subscriptions may have been obtained instead of Software Assurance (SA) by EA customers who qualify for an SA renewal, as well as by select Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS) customers, as explained in the May 2020 Product Terms:

“Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) customers with continuous subscription coverage on Qualifying Licenses for no less than three years may purchase the corresponding From SA SLs”

So how can this impact your license position?

With this measure, Microsoft aims to prevent licenses being transferred to third parties or affiliates. As a result, it will prevent you realising cost savings that you have already counted for in the books! 

To complicate matters, you need to be aware of the fact that if you are using the on-premise Office Professional Plus from the EA and MPSA rights, you are not allowed to downgrade to previous versions. For EAS customers the downgrade rights are only available when the buy-out option is used.