Microsoft Euro price hike could see license costs rise by 33%

Euro pricing

Microsoft has confirmed end users could pay up to a third more for volume licenses from 1 July, as it pushes ahead with plans to align its pricing with the Euro.

The software giant's proposed price changes were revealed by Marlow-based Microsoft Large Account Reseller Softcat in February.

We are communicating this now to offer our business customers time to prepare

In a statement released at the time, Microsoft stressed the changes would result in "modest, single-digit price rises" for "most customers."

"By establishing price consistency, Microsoft is offering clear and equitable pricing for customers and partners," the statement added.

In a further statement released today, Microsoft confirmed aligning its volume licensing pricing with the Euro would result in price hikes of between "7.5 per cent and 33.5 per cent."

The price changes will apply to the firm's Enterprise and Enterprise Subscription Agreements, as well as its Select, SPLA and Microsoft Online Services Portal programmes.

The statement also revealed that customers who purchase products through Microsoft's Open license programme could also be hit with price rises of 7.5 per cent.

Microsoft said its resale partners will have the final say in how much they charge and in what currency they sell the products to customers.

"We are communicating this now to offer our partners and business customers time to prepare for this change and, until 1 July, UK partners will be able to purchase Microsoft software for their customers at the current list price," said the company statement.

In a blog post on Softcat's website today, the firm said the size of the price rises, which it has averaged out to 29 per cent, might come as a shock to some customers.

"The 29 per cent average price increase may take some by surprise, but it is just the net effect of a number of years' exchange rate fluctuations," stated Richard Lamacraft, a Microsoft licensing specialist at Softcat.

"Microsoft adjusts its pricing less often than other vendors, which is why people will notice this increase."

To get round the price hikes, Softcat said customers should consider renewing and purchasing licenses before 1 July or signing up to 3-year agreements.

"Other [customers] may find, after evaluating their needs and objectives, that they don't need to take any action at all," added Lamacraft.

Meanwhile, Richard Tubb, Microsoft channel watcher and business consultant, said the price hikes could spell bad news for SMBs who already struggle to see the value in volume licensing programmes.

"Microsoft partners have always found selling Volume Licensing to SMBs a challenge because the SMB market is very price conscious," Tubb told IT Pro.

"Microsoft adding 7.5 per cent to volume licensing pricing is going to make it even more difficult for many smaller Microsoft partners, and I suspect many will simply give up even offering it as an option to price conscious clients."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.