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Microsoft Ending Some SharePoint Online Plans This Month

Microsoft is retiring some of its SharePoint Online and Office Online plans by the end of this month, while offering other plans as substitutes.

A total of four plans are going away and won't be sold after June 30, 2014, Microsoft announced today. Those plans include SharePoint Online Plans 1 and 2 with Yammer, plus Office Online with SharePoint Plans 1 and 2.

Organizations currently licensed under those expiring plans can still use the software for a year or two, depending on how the software was purchased. If purchased under Open licensing, the software can be used until June 30, 2015. If purchased under "direct" or "syndication" channel programs, then the software can be used until June 30, 2016. Lastly, organizations with Enterprise Agreement licensing can continue to use the software until June 30, 2017, according to a Microsoft help page.

While the four plans are going away, comparable offerings are available from Microsoft. The recommended substitutions are shown in this table:

Expiring Plan Substitute Plans
SharePoint Online Plan 1 with Yammer
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1
  • SharePoint Plan 1, Yammer Enterprise
  • SharePoint Online Plan 2 with Yammer
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3
  • SharePoint Plan 2, Yammer Enterprise
  • Office Online with SharePoint Plan 1
  • SharePoint Online Plan 1
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1
  • Office Online with SharePoint Plan 2
  • SharePoint Online Plan 2
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1, Office 365 Enterprise E1 to SharePoint Plan 2 Step-up (EA only)
  • O365 Enterprise E1, SharePoint Plan 2
  • Table 1.Expiring SharePoint Online and Office Online plans, with alternatives. Source: Microsoft help page.

    One twist pertains to organizations using Open licensing. Microsoft currently doesn't offer separate SharePoint and separate Yammer Open licensing plans. However, it plans to introduce such separate plans starting on Aug. 1, 2014, according the help page.

    Enterprise Agreement customers will face higher costs in moving off the expiring plans to the new ones. Microsoft's help page suggested that organizations with Enterprise Agreements will get "one-time price discounts" as an incentive to make the move, although no details were provided.

    The licensing program changes are being done "to streamline our subscription plans and to provide a clearer plan differentiation," according to Microsoft's help page description. That's little consolation for IT pros, though. They will be faced with reassigning the licenses to end users under the new plans if they want to continue to use the software after the expiration dates.

    About the Author

    Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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