Landmark Change in Redmond: Microsoft Raises the Minimum Threshold for Enterprise Agreements (EA)

Microsoft has announced an important amendment to its Enterprise Agreement program. Starting 1 July 2016, the minimum threshold will be raised from 250 to 500 desktops on almost all markets. Our FAQ on this topical issue will tell you exactly what this change means, and what you can do if you are affected.

An article by the German COMPAREX Blog Editing Team

On 1 February 2016, Microsoft took another important step forward in the “Mobile first, Cloud first” strategy it announced back in 2014. Raising the threshold requirements for the Enterprise Agreement program is designed to significantly simplify volume license contracts and to shed light on the labyrinthine licensing situation that customers and partners have frequently criticized as excessively complex. Customers deploying fewer than the defined number of 500 desktops will only be able to conclude an EA contract before 30 June 2016. Orders will only be accepted for volumes above 500 desktops from 1 July 2016. The threshold remains unchanged in countries in which the Microsoft Products and Service Agreement (MPSA) is not available – for instance China and India. In the following, you will find answers to the most frequent questions on these recent developments in Redmond.

Frequently asked questions: Microsoft has raised the minimum threshold for Enterprise Agreements (EA)

Why is Microsoft changing its Enterprise Agreement program?

According to Microsoft, the Enterprise Agreement program offers companies with more than 500 desktops the greatest benefits. Smaller companies are increasingly using hybrid solutions or have migrated entirely to the cloud. This means they no longer meet the requirements of a standard EA contract.

When will the contractual amendment come into force, and who will be affected?

The amendment will come into force on 1 July 2016 and will apply exclusively to new industrial customers, and only in markets in which the Microsoft Products and Service Agreement (MPSA) is available.

What about current customers that do not satisfy the minimum threshold of 500 desktops?

There are two options available to customers who already have an Enterprise Agreement, but do not satisfy the minimum number of 500 desktops: first, they can extend their EA contract by 36 months on one occasion; second, they can choose to conclude an alternative volume license program (see next question).

Which alternatives does Microsoft offer its customers that do not satisfy the minimum threshold of 500 desktops?

A company with 250 to 499 desktops is a candidate for the Microsoft Products and Service Agreement (MPSA). This volume license program has been around since 2014 and offers precisely the flexibility and transparency that companies of this size require. It involves one single, central contract as a basis for all procurements of software licenses and cloud solutions. Software can be purchased flexibly, precisely when it is needed, and customers have the additional choice of buying a license for in-house operation or as a cloud solution (alternatively as a hybrid).

The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP) is another alternative to the Enterprise Agreement program. This program is designed especially for customers seeking to migrate all of their data to the cloud.

Does this amendment also affect government agencies and the public sector?

No! The minimum threshold of 250 desktops will remain in place for government agencies and the public sector.

Leipzig, 2/2/2016

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