Microsoft Expands 72-Hour Window For NCE Changes

“This change is intended to provide partners with additional time to make post-purchase corrections to orders,” according to the Microsoft announcement.


Microsoft announced Thursday a change to the 72-hour window allotted for partners to make changes to customer’s subscription plans, one of the more widely criticized parts of the tech giant’s New Commerce Experience.

Now, partners have seven calendar days to cancel or reduce seats after ordering or renewing subscriptions under New Commerce Experience (NCE) – a campaign meant to align partners with how customers buy cloud-based products, according to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

The campaign affects popular product packages including Microsoft 365 – which comprises Word, Excel, Teams and other popular applications.

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The new cancellation window will go into effect at 5 p.m. Pacific Friday, according to Microsoft.

“This change is intended to provide partners with additional time to make post-purchase corrections to orders,” according to the announcement.

It continues: “If a partner cancels a subscription five days into an annual term, the partner will be billed for those five days but not for the remainder of the year’s term. Also, the seven-day window will apply retroactively to subscriptions purchased seven days prior to the implementation of the change (for example, starting at 12 a.m. UTC on March 12).”

For a subscription that was purchased at 11 a.m. local time on March 15, in another example, a partner can cancel or have seats reduced up until 11 a.m. March 22.

“As with the previous cancellation window, partners can submit the cancellations and seat reductions via either the Partner Center UI or their integrated API” (application programming interface), according to Microsoft.

It continued: “Partner assets in the CSP new commerce experience for seat-based offers collection are in the process of being updated to reflect this change.”

Partners have previously complained to CRN about the short window for making changes to a customer’s subscription before the customer is locked in with a service provider and a service provider is locked in with a distributor.

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech – a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Microsoft partner and member of CRN’s 2022 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 – told CRN in an interview that the change is welcomed so that partners are less anxious over mistakes in license terms for a customer.

“I’d love to see more flexibility if a client goes out of business or when transferring from one cloud service provider to another,” he said.

Bobby Guerra, CEO of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Microsoft partner Axiom – a critic of parts of the New Commerce Experience who even started a petition calling for Microsoft to revoke the 20 percent premium on monthly – told CRN in an interview that he’s happy Microsoft is listening to partners.

“It’s great news to see that Microsoft has listened to some of the critical complaints we have had about NCE,” Guerra said. “Hopefully they can address the ability to change SKUs (stock-keeping units) like E3 to Business Premium after an annual purchase.”

Guerra’s company has already run into the issue of changing license types when onboarding new clients, he said. “This will only get worse now that Microsoft is pushing annual subscriptions more.”

Microsoft will enable cancellations in the seven-day window for new seat-based subscription purchases or renewals on New Commerce, subscriptions purchased on New Commerce as a result of a migration from a legacy Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, partial New Commerce upgrades that resulted in a new subscription and other situations.

Along with the cancellation window, partners have also criticized a 20 percent premium on month-to-month subscription terms rolling out as part of New Commerce Experience. That monthly premium is on top of an overall price increase Microsoft announced for M365 and other popular packages.

Partners have criticized the monthly premium for encouraging customers to go with an annual contract. If a customer goes out of business or reduces its number of licenses, partners are stuck paying out the remainder of the contract.

The cancellation window change comes after Microsoft announced additional changes for its partner program.

More changes announced this week include changing the Microsoft Partner Network name to Microsoft Cloud Partner Program and introducing a Partner Capability Score (PCS) that will separate base-level partners from so-called “solutions providers.”

These changes, taking effect Oct. 3, include scrapping the Gold and Silver designations for partners and adding new specialized and expert certifications for partners based around six service areas.