Microsoft to raise Office server prices with new 2013 releases

Microsoft to raise Office server prices with new 2013 releases

Summary: Microsoft's SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013, Visio 2013 are all likely to cost more than their 2010 counterparts, and in some cases, substantially more.


December 1 is turning into a red-letter day for Microsoft customers, and not in a good way.


Microsoft is increasing prices on User (not Device) client-access licenses as of December 1, as I blogged yesterday. But it looks like the Redmondians also will be raising prices on a number of Office server products compared to their predecessors on that date, as well.

While it's not unusual to charge more for more functionality, there seems to be other factors at work here. Even though its official message is users have choices, Microsoft is trying to wean consumers and business users away from on-premises Office software and onto cloud-hosted and/or subscription-based alternatives. One way the company is attempting this is by making on-premises software more expensive and offering lower prices on subscription-based options, like Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Mid-Size Business, etc.

Rich Gibbons, Software Manager at European VAR Bechtle, blogged earlier this month about price hikes coming as of December 1 for Office users looking to buy the 2013 versions of Microsoft's Office server products. Software Advisors, a Sacramento, Calif.-based group of Microsoft-licensing experts, posted a similar blog entry corroborating the coming price hikes.

Microsoft released Office 2013 to manufacturing in October and made the final bits available to MSDN, TechNet and volume licensees shortly thereafter. As of December 1, Office 2013 client and server products get added to the Microsoft volume price lists. That's when business users can purchase the RTM bits and see the final, official SKU line-up. Microsoft has shared with some of its reseller partners information about what's coming on both fronts.

Microsoft has consolidated SharePoint so that there will be a single SKU -- known as SharePoint Server 2013 -- rather than having separate Standard and Enterprise SKUs. SharePoint Server 2013 will cost users more than 38 percent more than its SharePoint 2010 counterpart, according to both Gibbons and Software Advisors.

Lync also has been consolidated, with previous Standard and Enterprise versions being collapsed into a single "Lync Server 2013" edition.

Update: Here's an important clarification. Lync MVP Matthew Landis blogged in November that, actually, there still will be Standard and Enterprise versions of Lync 2013, but that they will be available for the same price. The same may be true of SharePoint 2013, based on this statement from Landis' post: “With the 2013 versions of Exchange Server, Lync Server and SharePoint Server, we are consolidating the right for External Users to access the server under the server license assigned to the server on which the software runs."

Gibbons said that Lync Server 2013 could cost upwards of 400 percent more than its predecessor. (That isn't a typo.) Software Advisors blogged that there would be a "substantial" increase in the cost of Lync 2013 compared to its predecessor. Software Advisors also noted in its post that "Skype functionality will (likely) be included in all CALs and user-subscription licenses (USLs)."

Visio Standard 2013 could cost more than 20 percent than its predecessor, Gibbons said. Software Advisors noted that Visio Premium has been "retired." Visio Standard pricing will increase of 20 percent, Software Advisors said, while Visio Professional will jump five percent.

According to pricing information provided by Microsoft to partners in early October, Office Standard 2013 will be priced at $369 and Office Professional Plus 2013 at $499. (These are estimated retail prices, I believe, meaning few, if any, will pay them. Volume licensees can haggle to some extent.) 

A spokesperson for Microsoft's Office team declined to comment on any of the prices listed in Gibbons' or Software Advisors' posts. The spokesperson also said Microsoft wouldn't comment on the Office Standard or Professional Plus 2013 prices from the slide deck I saw.

"An increase in price when a new version is released is quite common, with most manufacturers, but coupled with the December 1st 15% increase on user CALs and just 6 months after the up to 30% price rise relating to the Euro/GBP levelling – I do not anticipate this being well received by customers!" Gibbons blogged.

Gibbons' suggestion for customers who are contemplating buying these products is to compare the cost of buying them in the remaining few days before December 1 under a Software Assurance (SA) licensing agreement to guard against being hit by the December price increases.

Software Advisors' guidance: "If you have these Office products under SA currently, you will completely own the current version within the licensing conversion plans and rules. You should seriously consider whether it is necessary to renew these under SA, as many of them might not ever even have a next on-premise version (might all move to the cloud). But, if you want to continue to place your bets on what’s next, Microsoft will happily take your Software Assurance payments."

I'm doubtful that Office 2013 marks the end of on-premises/locally installed versions of Office. It feels too soon to me, given enterprise buying habits and patterns. But given the Office team hasn't shared its packaging plans for Office Wave 16 yet, I can't make any promises....

Topics: Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Microsoft, Unified Comms


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: So afraid of Apple

    Another move to imitate them. Trying to be elitist brand and get people to believe because it is priced higher it must be better. But their core users are different and they are trying every which way to get get rid of them or betting on the users will have no choice to stick with with them when their old machines fail
    • "you get what you pay for" only works when

      Those who charge more actually put a relevant amount of quality into the components and how they are aligned.

      Building it on the cheap while making it look posh and pretty, just to pocket the difference, does not inspire confidence, and enough articles of imacs and macbooks overheating to death are clear proof that they are not well-made. Right down to globs of poor quality thermal paste. Macs aren't built the same they were 5 years ago.

      The Mac Pro (circa 2009 and 2010) truly are engineering marvels with the cooling, hard drive placement, etc, but Apple's been hinting at eliminating the model - and their lack of updated video cards (or product prices to pass to the customer as component part price plummet for everyone else) shows a market-unfriendly culture at Apple.
      • new strategy?

        So, is this the new anti-Apple strategy? Claim they were once great (to justify the positive image they have today), but that they are already slipping and cheating their customers?
        Do you think consumers are that dumb? No, they are not.

        By the way, I have observed this strategy being applies in few other fields. Let me tell you -- it does not work.
    • No; this is Microsoft being themselves

      Apple software is relatively cheap or sometimes bundled with the cost of hardware. This is different. microsoft is being Microsoft by locking you in. After years of pledging interoperability support in Lync with other SIP platforms (which isn't really true; Lync deviates enough from standard SIP practices) and with 'open' document formats in Office to keep alternatives at bay. Now that many enterprise customers are locked in with Lync; they raise prices through the roof.
      • Back on planet earth ...

        ... Office 2012 now includes comprehensive support for ODF, PDF and strict and transitional OXML:

        I've several customers who use Lync regularly and interop with a variety of companies using various SIP systems without any issues whatsoever. Microsoft goes as far as to publish an ever growing list of devices, equipment and software that are certified for use with Lync:

        That said, I am sure there are some (most likely older, less standards-compliant) SIP gateways, switches, routers, etc. in widespread use that may have issues with a more modern SIP product like Lync, but that's hardly Microsoft's fault/responsibility to fix, right?
    • RE: So afraid of Apple

      edkollin wrote:
      "Another move to imitate them.

      Sounds more like Oracle.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • O365 and RDS

    Hopefully, with 2013, MS will allow O365 E1-E4 customers to install Office under RDS (terminal server). That has been the major sticking point for many adopting O365 as many in the SMB segment utilize RDS for a significant part of their user base - in our case, 100%.
  • Genius

    Genius move. So instead of upgrading to the 2013 versions of Microsoft's products, enterprises will cling to 2010... forever.
    • Majority of enterprises will have Select or whatever license it is

      currently called, and will pay very minimal as long as their license is on.
      Ram U
    • Upgrading SharePoint is major undertaking, so ...

      ... organizations tend to cling to old versions. I recently saw someone who was running three versions (and not 2013 yet). It took me over a year to migrate from 2007 to 2010 (and I just finished a couple months ago).

      I don't know what direction we will decide to go this time - quickly to 2013? to the cloud (Office 365)? or skip it? or keep the old and add new environments - but I doubt cost will be a major consideration, functionality will be. The cost of the licenses is just the tip of the iceberg for larger enterprises.
      Schoolboy Bob
  • Upgrade ... why?

    I'll admit I no longer use my Word Perfect 4.2 but I could, quite happily.
    Having taught, at one time or another, all of the MS Office products as well as Open Office, Libre Office, Word Perfect and others, it blows me away that so many people/companies feel compelled to upgrade just because a new version comes out. When I buy new hardware I move my favorite software to the new machine under the same license.
    The value in all of these products can be expressed in the simple question "Does it do what you need?" Hemmingway did not need the latest typewriter. Why do you?
    If you write for a living all you need is a decent word processor that has a easily sharable file format. I'll stick with my MS Office 2000/Word Perfect 12 combination for now. Nothing, I've seen, indicates anything newer can serve me better. If want to do better, a good writing class would be money better spent. Giving a person a top of the line camera does not make them a better photographer.
    • But it's not just about the product - is it

      If all you need is a word processor, then by all means stay with Word Perfect. What makes these suites desirable is interoperability.

      ...let me embed my Word Perfect document in your PowerPoint slide....oh wait...#@^&%!!!!!!!
      • Don't muddy the point.

        Don't muddy the point. I do use Word 2000 also and both work in your example, although I'll admit there may be circumstances when my favored WP might not but I still have MS Word 2000 which will.
        I just used word processing as an example app. I still love my MS Excel 2000 too.
      • Stupid Reply - OLE

        Office has supported OLE as far back as 1992 when Windows NT 3.1 was out. So I can embed a PowerPoint 2000 presentation in a Word 2000 just fine. There are just some improvements in Word 2013 I really, like ability to import and edit a PDF which I have done a lot lately, outline typed letters with a color to put emphasis on Words in a time table. The ability to sync my documents across multiple machines and directly open and save to locations over the Network and Skydrive without complexity. Also, recent versions of Word are way more robust than Office 2000. I remember just for nostalgia sake, I installed Office 2000 Professional SP1 in a Windows 98 VM, and the thing crashed during installation. When finally did install, Access 2000 would not open.
    • 2003

      Office 2003 was the best version with real menus. You should stick with that.
      Anyway, I would use LibreOffice if wanted to have a word processor with menus.
  • software

    Why buy something just because its new and does nothing more that what you are using "If it ain't broke don't fix it" Just another way for Mirco to get rich.
  • MS Office on a Subscription Basis: Does this help other vendors to compete?

    With the move to everything being online, does this finally make it easier to move customers to other MS Office replacements?

    Integrating a user's device with cloud services is easier than rolling out and supporting on-premise software.

    This should make it faster, easier and at a lower cost to break away from MS' lock on all things in the enterprise.

    David C. Brown, PMP, CISSP, CIP
    • not a chance

      unfortunately no. The current versions of Office all like to use the cloud - when I try to save a word document in 2013, I have 2 choices: my skydrive account, or Office 365 account. (oh yes, there is a small icon for save to my computer, but you can tell they don't really want you to use it). I'd save to sharepoint via the skydrive-adaptor that comes with office 2013, but it doesn't support SP 2007 which we use at work.

      As for other companies products, I really wouldn't hold your breath - skydrive or office265 are really your choices, I can't see Microsoft allowing any other company to add its icon to the 'save as' dialog, let along integrate with the rest of the system. I hope someone (dropbox? Google?) will sue them to change this and open Office up, but MS has simply found a new form of lock-in that they are going full-on for.
  • We 115 Users have ........

    Moved our users to a flavour of Linux "Zorin 6" which has a UI that looks and works like WIN7.

    We purchased Zorin 6 Ultimate with DVD media for NZ$30.00 and it has applications also When we can move to Linux flavor Zorin 6 Ultimate, "" for NZ$30.00 with DVD and Support.

    This includes Libra Office and a full range of Applications Business, Multimedia, Gaming, you don't need to purchase anything else.

    Ans we also also be purchasing Ubuntu Server Advanced loaded or Zental Server "" with all options.

    The cost saving per user is around NZ$800.00 per user, and the server well we were very surprised, and our accountant loved the savings to the balance sheet.
  • The big problem

    is that contracts run out - and you will not be able to get any at the lower price.

    So the TCO for MS just went up 15-20 percent. Time to move to something better.