Microsoft Cutting Azure Pricing For Enterprises, But Some Say Overall Costs Could Rise

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With SCE, Microsoft is letting EA customers consume Azure capacity on more of a pay-as-you-go basis, which means they'll get the discounted rate even if they go beyond their commitment.

The new Windows Azure terms are sure to entice some enterprises. But, SCE will reduce the discounts that customers have been getting under EAP and ECI.

Jeff Muscarella, partner at NPI, an Atlanta-based firm that helps companies manage software licensing, told CRN earlier this week that some enterprises could end up paying 40 percent more under the SCE.

A Microsoft spokesperson told CRN Friday that SCE can represent a price increase "for some customers."

"Customers should talk to their account representatives or resellers to best understand what SCE means in their specific situation. There are options for customers outside of SCE as well," said the spokesperson.

Some Microsoft partners say they understand the reasoning behind the SCE. Right now, many Microsoft customers have three EA agreements with Microsoft: One for servers (ECI) one for SQL Server and other products (EAP) and their traditional desktop agreement, one partner told CRN.

Under this arrangement, Microsoft has to spend time dealing with three different agreement renewals, so it makes sense for the company to want to simplify things, the partner said.

However, whenever Microsoft alters its licensing, it has a ripple effect throughout its huge channel, and partners are left to explain what the changes mean. At the end of the day, that's time that could be better spent, the partner told CRN.

"The frustrating part for me is that Microsoft continues to change entire licensing programs like this. So, a new CIO coming in the door and looking at a renewing agreement has to understand the old agreement, the new agreement and the transition options from one to the other," said the source.


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