Microsoft to Roll Out Office 365 Client Licensing Changes in August

Microsoft says that several changes designed to make Office 365 client licensing technology more reliable for subscription-based Office clients like Office 365 ProPlus will be rolled out during August.

Office 365 is part of the Microsoft 365 software offer which also bundles Windows 10 and EMS (short for Enterprise Mobility + Security), a bundle that provides customers with an easy way of enjoying a simple to manage and secure online productivity platform in Microsoft's vision.

Activation process not entirely reshaped

"In August, we’ll start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. The roll-out will continue to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in September, and Semi-Annual Channel in January 2020," says Microsoft.

While the Office activation and licensing changes will affect both users and admins who manage Office devices, the activation process will not be changed in its entirety.

More to the point, Office users will still have to activate their installation by sign-in in on their devices, with the software to automatically detect their credentials and activate itself if single sign-on is enabled.

Also, Office users can still deploy and activate Office apps on up to five desktop devices, five smartphones, and five tablets as part of their Office 365 client subscription.

Office activation changes for users and admins

The changes Microsoft will start rolling out during August are designed to remove prompts when deactivating Office installations, as well as automatically sign out users when the sign-in limit is reached:

  • No more prompts to deactivate: Users can install Office on a new device without being prompted to deactivate Office on another device.
  • Automatic sign out: When a user reaches the sign-in limit, instead of being prompted to deactivate, the user will be automatically signed out of Office on the device where Office has been least recently used. The next time the user starts Office on that device, the user will be prompted to sign in to activate Office.

Administrators will also notice several differences in the device reallocation and activation reporting processes as Microsoft's Shubham Gupta further explains:

  • Improved device reallocation: Previously, users who received reallocated devices could receive an error if the previous user deactivated the device from the portal or if you removed the Office 365 license from the previous user. Going forward, users will not receive the error because the activation and deactivation is user specific.
  • Improved activation reporting: Previously, when one user activated Office on a device and a second user later signed on to that device, the second activation was not displayed in the Admin Center’s Activation Reports. Going forward, both activations will be identified and displayed in the Activation Report.

    Last week, Microsoft also added a new user activity-based expiration policy for Office 365 groups in private preview, available for select Azure AD Premium customers and allowing for automated lifetime renewals without the need of any user intervention. 

    This new groups expiration policy will allow all Office 365 admins to improve their groups' lifecycle management once it reaches public preview by making sure that active groups are not haphazardly removed and data is irremediably lost.

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