Microsoft Tweaks MPSA Licensing for Short-Term Users
- By Kurt Mackie
- March 11, 2016
Organizations that need to license Microsoft software for just part of a year can now take advantage of new short-term options in Microsoft's Products and Services Agreement (MPSA).
The short-term MPSAs, which are available as of March 1, can be obtained to cover "one to 11 months" licensing periods, per Microsoft's announcement. They're designed for businesses such as retailers that employ seasonal workers, or organizations that have fluctuating business demands. Businesses can initiate these short-term MPSA contracts at any time.
Microsoft's announcement described the short-term MPSAs as being available just for "select online services." A graphic in the announcement shows some possible product licensing scenarios. They include:
- Office 365 E1
- SharePoint Online Plan 1 and Plan 2
- Exchange Online Kiosk Plan 1 and Plan 2
- Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS)
- Dynamics CRM Online increased capacity add-ons
In addition to the new short-term option, Microsoft added multiple-year options under MPSA contracts for its Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) licensing back in September. ECS licenses are a combination of Office 365 licenses, EMS licensing and the Windows Software Assurance annuity upgrade guarantee.
The MPSA is considered to be Microsoft's most flexible licensing contract yet available. The older Enterprise Agreement contract, though, is still Microsoft's flagship contract for organizations.
Microsoft has slowly rolled out its MPSA program, which was designed to simplify contractual agreements for organizations. The MPSA may have been launched as early as Dec. 2013, perhaps in a limited release. Microsoft later announced broadened availability of the MPSA planned for the summer of 2015.
In September, Microsoft added the ability to attach Software Assurance to MPSAs. Software Assurance gives organizations the rights to upgrade Microsoft's software if that upgrade happens within Software Assurance's coverage period. Microsoft phased out its Select Plus Agreements on July 1, 2015, supplanting them with the MPSA as one of the main options.
Microsoft also announced last month that it will increase the minimum "seat" count for Enterprise Agreements from 250 users or devices to 500 users or devices starting on July 1, 2016. This change could prompt smaller organizations with Enterprise Agreements to opt for MPSAs at contract renewal periods, possibly.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.