Level 1 Contributor

NCE Issues from an MSP standpoint

New to the community and have been looking at a few other strings regarding NCE. I can see that these topics have been brought up, but I don't feel like I've seen them get actually addressed by Microsoft - but it's possible I haven't spent enough hours looking through the forums 🙂 to find the official stances, so apologies if this is redundant.


Two biggest issues as an MSP that we're having with the NCE changes:

1. Partner transfers - This is without a doubt the absolute biggest issue. What justification does Microsoft have for not allowing a customer/end user to switch licensing providers (MSPs) mid-term? Microsoft will get paid the same either way - you don't have to let them out of their annual commitment to the licensing, just who is providing/managing the licensing. Other SaaS providers have been able to figure out how to transfer this cleanly. I'm really wondering what the train of thought was on this.


For Example...

We are onboarding a new Managed Services client who (we discovered during their onboarding) is paying month-to-month for NCE licensing to their previous vendor, and they’re locked in until April 2023. Our new client is now super upset that they have to keep sending checks to their previous provider for 10 more months just for Microsoft licensing, and I don’t blame them. A lot of times when customers are leaving another provider, it’s because they are unhappy and the relationship has gone very sour in some cases. You have now put your customers in a bad spot, as well as your partners (the previous provider, AND the new one). NO ONE is happy about this transaction. Literally EVERYTHING else about this client's IT environment can be cleanly handed off from one MSP to another - EXCEPT your Microsoft products. You are the thorn. 


2. Co-terming licensing - Coming from the administrative side, this new way of licensing is an administrative nightmare. I'd like to refer to Adobe licensing as an example of how Microsoft could shift how they allow clients/partners to manage Microsoft licensing. When you are an Adobe VIP Subscription client, you have one Adobe licensing anniversary date that all of your various licensing co-terms with, regardless of the type of license (ex. Acrobat Pro DC, or Creative Cloud). Any new licensing co-terms all to the same date, and they all renew at the same time. This is very easy to manage.


If Microsoft could have one single Microsoft anniversary date that all subscriptions co-term to, this would be SO incredibly helpful. To have your customers and partners try to manage and juggle multiple renewal dates for various subscriptions is very painful. 


I realize that Microsoft may like the fact that they'll be getting extra profits from the sheer difficulty of customers and partners navigating these two issues, but it actually feels MORE like you are trying to dissuade customers/end users from using an MSP partner altogether. Issue #1 above does not exist if you just go direct with Microsoft - that is glaringly obvious to an MSP, and to our clients. We MSPs are working hard to learn your products and help you sell and support them - but with this NCE change, it feels like you're trying to move out of the MSP/CSP/partner channel space. Ouch. 

Visitor 1

Hi Janosch,


Any update on "enabling a way to allow a transfer between Partners is being evaluated, though I can't confirm anything right now and certainly not give an ETA." ?


Thanks, Tom.


@tlender1 : Unfortunately, there is no update I can mention currently. As of now, I still recommend to contact support when in such situation.

Kind regards, Janosch
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Level 2 Contributor

How Microsoft have been allowed to implement the NCE style of licensing is baffling. Overnight they went from being one of the best companies I deal with to the very worst. NCE has caused nothing but disagreements and conflict with my CSP distributors. This is the Windows Vista of licensing and a total fail by Microsoft. 

Level 1 Contributor

@JanoschUlmer thank you for the prompt reply, and for the article regarding Coterminosity - I'll have my team take a look at this and see if we can align our client's existing subscription end dates with the instructions provided.


I'm glad to hear they are talking about transferring subscriptions between MSPs - and look forward to that progress being made. The buyout option is definitely not a great option - that would really hurt smaller MSPs with SMBs for clients, it takes quite a while to make that back. 


Thank you.


@msp-csm-mn Thank you for adding the feedback.

On item 1 - enabling a way to allow a transfer between Partners is being evaluated, though I can't confirm anything right now and certainly not give an ETA.


Actually, there were Partners that were concerned about the churn (though I personally understand your via as MSP on this) - and since the general idea of NCE is to align the purchasing rules across all sales motions - regardless if customer buying from Partner, via Microsoft Account team or via web site - the system was set up to not allow mid-term changes.

I have talked to partners which have evaluated to buy-out the customer from the old Partner - so while technically the old Partner still "owns" the licenses, the customer only keeps a business relationship with the new Partner. And from technical perspective the customer can also remove all admin permissions from old Partner, only allow them with the new one and ask the new Partner to raise support tickets. Yes, the margin situation for the new Partner is not ideal, and also which Partner earns the recognition for the sale is not changed this way. This is the option that exists today.


2. Coterminosity is available in NCE, see NCE Handbook:



Kind regards, Janosch
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