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Open Licensing Coming for Windows Intune, Power BI

Partners will have the opportunity to bill their own customers for Microsoft's Windows Intune service and the soon-to-be-released Power BI service starting in April.

"Windows Intune will be available for resale through Open Volume Licensing beginning April 1, 2014.  Intune joins Office 365, and the upcoming Power BI for Office 365 offer, as the latest in our suite of cloud services available for resale," wrote Lori Dennis, senior director, Server & Cloud Breadth Channel Marketing, in a blog post this week.

Windows Intune is Microsoft's cloud-based device management service, which will be getting a minor update next week. Power BI is a suite of mostly online components designed to help Excel users create visualizations from data. Power BI was announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July and is expected to be released early this year. Microsoft revealed Power BI pricing earlier this month.

With online products, the Open Volume Licensing approach allows partners to buy the license for Microsoft products on behalf of the customer and then bill the customers themselves. Partners argued for years for the ability to bill their own Office 365 customers -- saying owning customer billing both gave them more peace of mind that Microsoft wouldn't poach accounts and gave partners the ability to bundle services, including Office 365, together and present customers with one price, which also allows them to set their own margins.

Microsoft granted partners billing capability for Office 365 in the spring of 2013, although it only applied to Office 365 and not to Windows Intune.

Partners have generally responded positively to the Open licensing opportunity with one major caveat: As it's currently constructed, partners must pay for an entire year's worth of the license upfront on behalf of customers who are mostly interested in monthly payments.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 30, 2014 at 3:10 PM