Microsoft Office License Update

Microsoft Office License Update

Microsoft has updated how they handle a license. Specifically, how they handle licenses that bundle together multiple features.

At EN Computers, there are three common licenses our clients use …

  • Exchange Online Plan 1 – “stand-alone” e-mail only license
  • Office 365 Business Premium – bundle license that includes the Exchange Online Plan 1 feature
  • Enterprise E3 – bundle license that includes the Exchange Online Plan 2 feature

In the past, if a user with an Exchange Online Plan 1, was assigned an Office 365 Business Premium license -- the Admin portal would allow it. Both licenses have the same type of e-mail feature level.  Similarly, you could assign an Enterprise E3 license and Microsoft would choose “the greater of the two feature levels”. This automatically enables the Exchange Online Plan 2 level of the e-mail feature, and ignores the Exchange Online Plan 1 level.  Essentially, it didn’t tell a person that one of the other licenses was replacing the original one.

But, in recent months, the Admin portal stopped doing that. It started requiring that a person expand the license bundle to select exactly what feature will be On, and which will be Off.  Especially in cases where there are two types of bundle licenses (like Business Premium & Project) that have some common overlapping features.  To illustrate … here is how the Office 365 Business Premium bundle looks:


The top line in the image is the overall bundle name.  Everything else is an individual feature that is part of the bundle.  And, by default, most of the features in the bundle appear to be turned On.


Things have changed. Exchange Plan 1 license is not actually “stand-alone” anymore. It has been setup as a bundle.  This is likely due to another Microsoft initiative to up sell add-ons for core features.


If you just look at the license name, everything looks good.  It looks like it's “On”.  So the assumption would be that because it’s an “e-mail only license”, if “On”, it would actually be on or active.  But, if you expand it to view the bundle, the actual feature is marked as “Off”.

Caution – this is where it can be completely misleading.

The top line really just pointed out that “the user has an active license” instead of “the user has an active feature”.

This is a very important distinction.  Documentation is one of the most important areas of IT management. Often techs overlook the nuances of licenses. One of our techs uncovered this issue. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help – there’s a reason we are “fully responsible!”