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Microsoft is going to kill Internal Use Rights benefit for Partners

The Internal Use Rights (IUR) allows a partner to run their business on Microsoft’s software and services. From Windows Desktops and Servers, to all to Office Server based back-end services, to the amazing cloud services that Office 365 and Azure have to offer.

“Effective July 1, 2020, we will retire the internal use rights (IUR) association with the product licenses partners receive in the Microsoft Action Pack and included with a competency. Product license use rights will be updated to be used for business development scenarios such as demonstration purposes, solution/services development purposes, and internal training,”

Taken from the announcement on the Microsoft Partner Web site.

That will affect small partners, like me! And only in a very negative way!

Don’t get me wrong: I already pay for a lot of Microsoft services that are not part of the IUR! On the other hand: Why should I run a (very) complex infrastructure as a demonstration and support scenario? Especially if I have to spend thousands of euros just to keep everything licensed? Just to have it, while not really need it from a business perspective!

Here are some examples of the stuff that I have and maintain just to demonstrate and support engagements:

  • A two (2) node hybrid Exchange Cluster with two (2) DAG’s (with a handful dummy mailboxes)
  • A two (2) node ADFS Farm
  • A SQL Server Instance (nearly empty)

All running on a Hyper-V based hyper converged cluster, on my own hardware. Only the hardware and maintenance cost is a lot.

Do I need all that? Nope! However, when it comes to support issues, It’s so great to have that! On the other hand, if we need to provide automation tools tailored for customers… Very convenient to have an environment and not do any black box development, deliver it to a customer: “Yeah, this should work… Please test it and come back with the results!”.

To go even further: Cloud services! They are great! But as a small company, I don’t need them!

Some more examples of things that we use, but would never pay for:

  • Enterprise Mobility (Premium)
  • Conditional Access
  • Azure Storage as backup
  • Complex Flow processes (e.g. to demonstrate approval Workflows)

And these are just a few examples! Again: The services are great! However, when it comes to the question: “Do I really need them?” the answer is always the same: “NO!”.

From the Redmond Channel Partner page.

You can find a great article over there at the Redmond Channel Partner page.

As far as I understood the announcement: We can still some as a support and/or development environment. Yeah, right! Are you kidding me? Create a separated environment and keep this up-to-date, just in case? We had that in the past and due to the nature of such an environment, it was never up-to-date, and never ready to use.

And there are some services that I wouldn’t even think about…

Some asked me on Twitter: “How will you convince a customer to pay for a service that you are unwilling to pay for?”.

Well, the answer is simple: Nearly all of my engagements are much bigger! They need a complex setup! As a small company, we don’t need that.

On the other hand: The big Microsoft partners will not really care about this program change! Smaller partners like us, have to rethink and decide if this is the right partnership for the future!!!

Pay for the partnership itself, all the certifications, the software, the services, and all the other things (hardware, energy). A big investment, especially if you don’t have to have it.

Alternatively, strip everything down (again, that is easy, cause I don’t need to have all the stuff mentioned above).

And while I have to rethink and rework my complete environment: Are there any cheaper alternative products available, maybe not perfect but way cheaper? Guess what my (personal) answer would be if a customer asks me.

And in my case, another question comes into my mind: Will I be able to publish more open sourced tools to community? Am I willing to do that? Another thing I have to decide!

Overall: I think that killing the Internal Use Rights (IUR) benefits for partners is a terrible decision.