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Microsoft To Direct First-Time Azure Buyers to Partners

Microsoft announced a licensing change this week that will affect first-time buyers of Azure services, starting next month.

On Feb. 1, 2017, Microsoft plans to direct first-time Azure service buyers to its partners under the Cloud Solution Provider program. New Azure purchasers won't be able to buy services directly from Microsoft in so-called "pay-as-you-go" Azure plans covered under the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) enrollment.

Existing Azure MPSA customers won't be affected by this policy change, though.

The new policy was described by Microsoft in a Tuesday licensing blog post as a way of helping its customers, who typically make purchases in three ways. They may want the "value-added" support from a Microsoft partner. They may want "self-serve" options for getting access to Azure and other services. Lastly they may want a "Microsoft-assisted offer."

Because of these purchasing trends, Microsoft decided to not proceed with its Enterprise Advantage option for MPSA enrollments, Microsoft's announcement explained.

The Enterprise Advantage option for the MPSA, initially announced in July, was designed to allow organizations buying various software and services to simplify matters. In addition to reducing paperwork, Enterprise Advantage, part of Microsoft's "modern licensing" effort, was billed as potentially enabling better discounts for bulk purchases, since organizations may have multiple enrollments but the purchasing could not be aggregated. Last month, though, Microsoft announced that it had decided to not go ahead with Enterprise Advantage because it would "create more change for our customers and partners than was necessary."

"By investing further to enhance all the ways customers want to buy, Microsoft assisted, self-service, and through value-added partner services, we can streamline how we get to modern licensing with fewer steps for our customers," Microsoft explained back in December.

This week, Microsoft seems to be saying that it's better to buy Azure services through its partners, at least for first-time buyers. The streamlining proposed with the now-defunct Enterprise Advantage option for the MPSA has been axed, even though it had appeared to be a strong element of Microsoft's initial modern licensing messaging.

About the Author

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

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