Microsoft Office Online name change

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Microsoft announced that they will remove the branding “Online” for the web version of Office and introduce new terminology for the apps on the web. Apps like Word Online are now called “Word for the web” or “Word in a browser”. This new terminology is already reflected in the product terms. It is important to note that this brand change only applies to Office applications. There is no change to the branding for Microsoft “Online” server products – especially Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, and Office Online Server. For the official Microsoft announcement, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-Apps-Blog/Why-Office-Online-is-Now-Simply-Office/ba-p/760207.

Microsoft FastTrack for Windows 10 deployment available

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Microsoft announced that Microsoft FastTrack is now available to support customers upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10. The Microsoft FastTrack for Windows 10 deployment guidance is free to customers who have or buy at least 150 Microsoft Windows 10 E3 or E5 licenses, or Windows 10 Enterprise with Software Assurance (SA). Experts will help a customer envision a technical plan, determine how to onboard, and deploy new services and/or users, and work with them as they deploy.

For the official Microsoft announcement and further details, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2019/08/12/speed-up-windows-10-development-new-fasttrack-guidance/.

Microsoft Azure Reservations

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Microsoft announced some updates to the Microsoft Azure Reservations. Firstly, there are new Reservations available for Azure Databricks (1 and 3-year) and Azure App Service (3-year) which both give around 40% savings compared to Pay-As-You-Go pricing. And there are some new features: Microsoft Azure Reservations now support the ability to automatically renew Reservations. Also, customers can now choose to assign Reservations to a Resource Group within a Subscription rather than to the whole Subscription. Reservations can now be purchased using REST APIs. Organizations rely on their Enterprise Agreement (EA) usage data to reconcile invoices, track usage, and charge back internally. Microsoft now added more details to the EA usage data to make the reservation reporting easier.

For the official Microsoft announcement with further details, please visit: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/6-ways-were-making-azure-reservations-even-more-powerful/#usagedata.

Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host preview available

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Microsoft announced the preview of Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host, a new Azure service that enables customers to run Linux and Windows virtual machines on single-tenant physical servers. Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host provides physical servers that host one or more Azure virtual machines. Your server is dedicated to your organization and workloads – capacity is not shared with other customers. This host-level isolation helps address compliance requirements. As you provision the host, you gain visibility into and control over the server infrastructure, and you determine the host’s maintenance policies.

Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host is charged at the host level regardless of the number of Azure Virtual Machines (VM) you run on the host. Software licenses are billed separately from compute resources at a VM level based on usage. If you’re eligible, you can use Azure Hybrid Benefit for additional savings.

For further information on the Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host, please find the official announcement here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-azure-dedicated-host/ and more information on the pricing here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-machines/dedicated-host/.

Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit for Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host

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According to the August 2019 Microsoft Product Terms, Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit now includes options for the Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host. The main aspects of Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and SQL Server remain unchanged. Here’s a summary of the rules for both Windows Server and SQL Server.

What does this benefit offer for Windows Server on Azure Dedicated Host?

Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server on Azure Dedicated Host can be used in three ways:

  • Standard edition: Customers with Windows Server Standard edition are entitled to 2 instances, similar to how Azure Hybrid Benefit applies to Windows Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VM) on shared servers. Each 2-processor license or each set of 16-core licenses are entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores, or one instance of up to 16 cores. The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Standard Edition licenses must be used either on-premises or in Azure although customers get 180 days of concurrent use rights while they are migrating their servers. Continue reading Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit for Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host

Microsoft dedicated hosted cloud services updates to licensing

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Microsoft announced that starting October 1st, 2019 there will be an update to the licensing of dedicated hosted cloud services. Currently, there aren’t any specific rules for dedicated cloud services in place. In the scenario of dedicated hosted cloud services, currently the same rules as for on-premises servers apply. The existing terms say, that as long as the hardware is dedicated to a customer, the customer can use his own licenses to license dedicated hardware in hosted cloud services. There is no requirement for Software Assurance or any other sort of eligibility criteria. The rights for licenses acquired before October 1st, 2019 remain unchanged.

Licenses purchased after October 1st, 2019 will underlay new rules when used with dedicated hardware from the following hosting organizations defined as “Listed Providers”: Microsoft, Alibaba, Amazon, and Google. Basically, you’ll now need Software Assurance on your licenses. The License Mobility benefit is updated to include both multi-tenant and dedicated services from these providers, and the Azure Hybrid Benefit is updated to include deployment to the newly announced Azure Dedicated Host.

For the Microsoft announcement, where you can also download an extended FAQ document on the bottom of the page, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/news/updated-licensing-rights-for-dedicated-cloud.

Microsoft Skype for Business Online will retire on July 31, 2021

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Microsoft announced that Microsoft Skype for Business Online will retire on July 31st, 2021 as Microsoft Teams has become the core communications client for Microsoft Office 365.

Note: Neither Skype consumer nor Skype for Business Server will be affected by the retirement of the Skype for Business Online service. Current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in the service up to the retirement date.

To align with this schedule, support for the integration of third-party party Audio Conferencing Providers (ACP) into Skype for Business Online has been extended to July 31, 2021, with limited support for remaining active tenants to allow additional time for transition. This is an update in the ACP timeline that was originally announced back in April of 2018.

Please find the official announcement and some helpful guidance here: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Skype-for-Business-Online-to-Be-Retired-in-2021/ba-p/777833.

Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow standalone plans available

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Microsoft announced that, effective October 1st, 2019, they will offer the following standalone plans: Microsoft PowerApps per App and Microsoft Flow per Business Process.

Microsoft PowerApps per App will allow individual users to run applications for a specific business scenario, while Microsoft Flow per Business Process will enable critical business processes to be implemented with capacity that serves teams, departments or the entire organization. Both seek to make it easier for organizations to get started and scale as their unique needs grow over time, whether that is implementing one scenario or a single business process, without having to purchase unlimited premium plans for all their users.

For further information on the new and existing Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow plans, please visit: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/new-licensing-options-for-powerapps-and-flow/.

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019 removed from Home Use Program

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Microsoft announced that Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019 and Microsoft Office Home and Business 2019 are no longer available as Home Use Program offers. Microsoft Office customers in the Home Use Program can now only buy Microsoft Office 365 Home or Microsoft Office 365 Personal subscriptions.

For further information on the Microsoft Home Use Program, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/home-use-program/frequently-asked-questions.

Microsoft Office 365 license activation changes

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In August, Microsoft will start rolling out changes to Microsoft Office 365 licensing technology to make it more reliable and resilient. These changes will help simplify activation management and streamline the Office 365 activation experience for users. Users will still sign-in to activate Office 365 on their devices, and if single sign-on is enabled, Office 365 will automatically pick up the credentials and activate Office 365. As part of your subscription, users can still install and activate Office 365 apps on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five smartphones. Previously, users who reached this limit were prompted to deactivate an existing install before activating Office 365 on a new device. Going forward, Office 365 will automatically sign the user out of the user’s least recently used device when the user exceeds the limit, eliminating unnecessary friction. In August, Microsoft will start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. No additional action is required on your part.

For further information on the Microsoft Office 365 license activation changes, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/Office-365-Client-Licensing-and-Activation-Improvements/ba-p/763694.