Small & Medium Business Customers Will Now Purchase Azure Directly from Microsoft

Introduced just last month, the new Microsoft Customer Agreement (“MCA”) is designed to provide customers with an easier method of procuring Azure.  It effectively cuts out Microsoft partners from selling Azure and related products.

According the Azure FAQ:

“The new Azure experience will help meet the needs of customers who are looking for maximum control over their own Azure services and no longer need the level of administrative support included in the Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Azure-only Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE). It will give customers a quick, easy and cost-effective way to buy and consume Azure services.”

Seeming to counter the Cloud Service Provider (“CSP”) program that Microsoft put in place back in 2015, the MCA can take much of the task of purchase support away from these providers and entices more customers to purchase directly from Microsoft.

Microsoft’s CSP program grew rapidly after its introduction with several thousand partners and resellers participating.  This move by Microsoft seems to be an attempt to shift those Value Added Resellers (VARs) from profiting through transactions, to profiting through pre-sales and post-sales services.

The MCA is due to become available in certain regions in March 2019 and some details about it are still sketchy. So far, Microsoft has indicated that its customers’ marketplace experience will be enhanced. They’ve also suggested that this new program features more consistent purchasing and management, whether the purchase is executed with the customer’s existing partner, via Microsoft’s web portal, or directly through the Microsoft account teams. When the details are released, Miro will provide an update.

There are some eligibility requirements.

  • First, the MCA must be available in your region which includes the United States, Canada, and Western Europe as examples.
  • Second, special terms and conditions that were included in your current agreement must be resolved or eliminated.
  • Third, the products must be included in the program (and it is thought that the current selection will grow).
  • And, fourth, the new MCA agreement – some eleven (11) pages long – and interspersed with links – is presented and agreed to electronically.

Whether the MCA is right for a particular customer is an important question. A licensing expert can assist you in making that determination.

Miro is not a Microsoft VAR. Contact us for an independent expert advice on your Microsoft licensing and subscription concerns.