Microsoft quietly increases license and server option prices

Microsoft has revealed details of a number of price increases related to its client access licenses (CAL) and server options, which are due to come into force on 1st December.

According to Constellation Research, unlike previous price hikes, Microsoft isn’t giving customers several months’ notice before the changes come into effect. Instead, it told resellers about the increases and left it up to them to decide whether or not to tell end user customers.

This is the second round of price increasesby Microsoft this year, as it already increased volume licensing prices in the UK by an average of 29 percent in May to adjust for the sustained currency differences between European countries.

User CALs, which allow a single user to access Microsoft software functionality from multiple devices, will have to pay 15 percent more from the beginning of next month.

Device CALs, which allows a single device to have access to Microsoft software, and isn’t user specific, will remain unaffected.

The products impacted by the CAL price hike include: Bing Maps server, Exchange server, Project server, Sharepoint server, System Centre, Visual Studio TFS, and Windows server.

Lync Server 2013 is also affected, as enterprises will no longer have the choice between standard and enterprise versions. Instead of paying $695 (£434) for a standard version Lync server, companies will only have the option to buy the $3,646 (£2280) enterprise Lync server.

Sharepoint server 2013 will also collapse into a single version and will face a price increase of 37 percent.

Visio Premium has been discontinued, while Visio standard prices will increase by 20 percent; Visio professional by 5 percent.

Cloud users should also take note, as Office 365 prices will increase between 5 and 8 percent, depending on which plan you have signed up to.

Global analyst at Constellation Research, E. Brent Kelly, said: “The price hike may give organisations an opportunity to pause and consider what kinds of CALs they really need: device CALS, user CALs, or a combination of the two.

“Alternatively it may be time to consider a move to cloud services where the pricing is by the month. Some organisations that use Microsoft’s Software Assurance likely have too many licenses, and a cloud model that allows organisations to either ramp up or down the number of licenses they have, may now have added merit.”

Computerworld UK contacted Microsoft for comment on the price increases, but hadn’t received any at time of publication.

A Microsoft statement to Constellation Research said: "Microsoft recently notified partners about enterprise Client Access Licenses (CALs) changes so they can inform customers about their options before the changes take effect on December 1, 2012.”

“These CAL changes include a user-based option that offers more value in support across unlimited devices and simplifies licensing management and compliance as devices in the workplace proliferate. Pricing for user CALs will change to reflect the increased value. Customers should work with their Microsoft partner or account team to assess their options."

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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