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Channel petition urges Microsoft to reconsider 365 price changes

Momentum in the partner community is gathering around attempts to get Microsoft to review its planned Office 365 price increase

A pattern seems to be emerging in the response from the channel to contentious decisions that come out of Microsoft, with the partner community launching a second petition in the space of two years to get the vendor to change its approach.

Back in the summer of 2019, the vendor had to perform a U-turn on plans to cut back on software licenses that partners could have for internal use and the pressure is mounting again on Microsoft.

This time, the petition is focused on getting a change to the potential 20% price hikes in monthly fees for Microsoft 365 subscriptions. If they go through, partners will have to be on the frontline passing on the increases and taking the response from their customers.

The vendor announced its plans to increase prices in a blog post, penned by Jared Spataro, corporate vice-president for Microsoft 365, which explained the rationale for the increases and pointed out that the vendor had resisted making a move for quite a while.

“We are announcing changes to our commercial pricing for Microsoft 365 – the first substantive pricing update since we launched Office 365 a decade ago,” he said. “This updated pricing reflects the increased value we have delivered to our customers over the past 10 years.”

A petition to encourage the vendor to change tack, set up by US reseller Axiom Tech a couple of months ago, has now gone past 1,030 signatures and is still gaining support across the channel.

The crux of the appeal is for the vendor to reconsider moves that would undermine the channel’s ability to provide customers with monthly billing options.

“Microsoft has announced it will be increasing its prices on most Microsoft Office 365 SKUs by 15% on 1 March 2022. Additionally, [it is] going to add an extra 20% fee/penalty to licenses if you remain in a monthly billing status. If you go yearly with your billing, you will not incur the extra fees,” the change.org petition stated.

“We recognise month-to-month subscriptions are invaluable to our clients as they allow flexibility to increase or decrease license counts based on their needs. Month-to-month subscriptions also have been an invaluable tool to help with cost reduction during Covid-19 and other economic events. Adding an addition 20% on these types of SKU’s seems almost punitive in nature, and – given the already 15% increase – is extreme,” it added.

Some of those commenting on the petition revealed that if the plans go ahead, it would cause them to consider pitching alternative products, while others pleaded with the vendor not to hurt its loyal partner base.

Micirosoft has yet to respond to the petition. The last time the channel resorted to using a petition, it garnered 6,534 signatures and was victorious in gaining a U-turn. The current petition has not hit that level yet, but efforts are ongoing.

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