Microsoft Printer Hardware Partners Deliver on Universal Print Support

Printer OEMs such as Brother, Canon and Lexmark are bringing products with native support for the Microsoft 365 Universal Print solution to market.

Microsoft spotlighted a few of these printer partners in an announcement Friday. New printers supporting Universal Print out of the box are said to have so-called "native" support. Other printer makers may leverage Microsoft's Windows Universal Print Connector software, which is conceived as a solution for older printers already in use. Printer manufacturers also are developing their own firmware updates to support Universal Print.

In past communications, Microsoft has typically said that the best Universal Print experiences could be had on a new printer with native support.

Printers with Native Universal Print Support
Printer products from Brother, Canon, Konica Minolta and Lexmark all are available with native Universal Print support, according to Microsoft's announcement.

The announcement sometimes provided links to these printers, but it's not always apparent which printers have native Universal Print support. An overall list of Universal Print partner integrations, though, can be found in this Microsoft document.

Native Support Yet To Come
It seems that many of Microsoft's printer hardware partners are still working on developing native Universal Print products. In some cases, they are working on their own software solutions or on firmware updates for existing printers.

HP is working to release a solution that integrates "all printing devices that support Workpath" under its "HP for Universal Print" effort, with a targeted release date of "summer 2021."

Kyocera expects to release its first Universal Print-ready printers "by late summer," with more arriving in "early fall 2021."

Ricoh is working on a solution that will add native Universal Print support, but the timing wasn't indicated.

Toshiba has certified its printers that will work with Universal Print. However, native out-of-the-box Universal Print support in its print products is still yet to come.

Xerox plans to release firmware updates to add Universal Print support to its printers in "fall 2021."

Universal Print Licensing and Costs
Universal Print brings the promise for IT departments of not having to set up a print server and manage printer driver updates. However, when Microsoft announced the "general availability" commercial release of Universal Print back in March, it also disclosed licensing details, as well as some cost aspects.

It turns out that organizations will need Microsoft 365 Business Premium or E3/E5 types of licensing to use Universal Print.

Under the Universal Print scheme, organizations need to buy "add-on packs" consisting of 500 print jobs per month, which are pooled across their end users. Organizations have to purchase more add-on packs if they exceed the limit per month, and it is IT pros who are tasked with that oversight. If print jobs aren't used within the monthly time period, then there's no carryover to the next month.

Microsoft stipulates that licensed end users are allotted just five print jobs per month under Microsoft's Universal Print scheme, which is a factor in how IT pros estimate the amount of print jobs that are available on a pooled basis per month.

"For example, a subscription with 1,000 licensed users will have 5,000 jobs per month available to all users," Microsoft explained.

That is, five print jobs per user means that you multiply 5 x 1,000 licensed users, which equals 5,000 pooled print jobs.

The add-on count is measured in terms of print jobs. Page counts aren't part of the cost estimate.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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