UPDATED: Microsoft users warned of upcoming volume price hike

Microsoft HQ

Microsoft is on the brink of introducing another volume license price increase that will affect users signed up to its Client Accessing Licensing (CAL) plans.

A CAL is needed by organisations to legally access networking server software services, such as file and print sharing.

End users can either purchase a Device CAL, which provides an unlimited number of users with access to server client services via a single device, or a User CAL that allows one user to access server software from an unlimited number of devices.

According to a blog post by Microsoft Large Account Reseller (LAR) Softcat, the software giant is planning to increase the price of User CAL licenses by 15 per cent from the start of December.

Meanwhile, the cost of purchasing Device CALs is set to remain the same.

"Microsoft is making this change in response to the increasing value of user-based licensing over the single device licensing model," explained the blog post.

User CAL subscribers that are signed up to multi-year Microsoft volume licensing agreements will not be affected by the price hike until their contract ends, claimed Softcat.

"Organisations considering the purchase of Microsoft volume license products that include CAL options are recommended to...discuss their options prior to the proposed price changes taking effect."

Microsoft confirmed the move in a statement to IT Pro, claiming the changes will help companies trying to get to grips with the proliferation of devices across their organisation.

"Pricing for user CALs will change to reflect the increased value. Customers should work with their Microsoft partner or account team to assess their options," the statement added.

Earlier this year, the software giant came under fire for announcing plans to align its Volume Licensing Pricing with the Euro, which would have resulted in end users paying up to a third more for some product licenses.

Speaking to IT Pro, Andy Trish, managing director of Microsoft reseller NCI Technologies, said the price hike could confuse customers.

"Microsoft has been working hard to reduce licensing complexity by reducing and simplifying [product] SKUs. So, I see pricing User CALs differently to Device CALs as a backwards step," said Trish.

"With the UK having recently seen a massive price hike on licensing, to increase the user CALs by a further 15 per cent seems incredibly greedy," he added.

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.