Office 365 Open Expanded Lineup – FAQ


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Beginning September 1, 2013, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Plan E1, Office 365 Plan E3, Exchange Online Plan 1 and Exchange Online Protection will be available for purchase through the Open programs (Open License, Open Value, and Open Value Subscription). Additionally, Office 365 offerings for government and academic customers will also be released through the Open programs. These new SKUs complement the Office 365 Midsize Business offering that was launched in the Open programs in March 2013.

The availability of additional Office 365 SKUs in Open provide increased flexibility and choice for both customers and partners as they support a move to the cloud. They appear on the August 1, 2013 pricelist preview and are available for purchase beginning September 1, 2013.

What is happening as part of the expansion of Office 365 in the Open Channel?

Starting September 1,, 2013, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Plan E1, Office 365 Plan E3, Exchange Online Plan 1 and Exchange Online Protection will be available for purchase through the Open License, Open Value and Open Value Subscription programs.

Additionally, Office 365 offerings for government and academic customers will also be released on September 1, 2013 through the Open programs.

What government and academic SKUs are being included in these Open programs as part of this announcement?

For government customers, the following SKUs will be available in the Open License, OV and OVS programs:

·         Office 365 ProPlus

·         Office 365 Plan E1

·         Office 365 Plan E1 + EOA

·         Office 365 Plan E3

·         Exchange Online Plan 1

·         Exchange Online Protection

For academic customers, the following SKUs will be available in the Open License, and OVS-ES programs:

·         Office 365 ProPlus for Students

·         Office 365 ProPlus for Faculty

·         Office 365 Plan A3 for Student

·         Office 365 Plan A3 for Faculty

Why are these new Office 365 SKUs being introduced in the Open channel?

We have received positive feedback from both customers and partners about the addition of Office 365 Midsize Business into the various Open programs. As a result, we continue to invest in this important sales channel with additional options.

Additionally, partners are seeing strong demand from customers for many of the SKUs available in the advisor program. We strive to provide our customers with the power of choice when selecting a productivity solution and believe that this will help us better meet the needs of customers.

How will the sale of these new SKUs compare to the existing sales process in Open?

The sales process for the new SKUs is the same as the process partners use today to sell Office 365 Midsize Business. These new offers will appear as new SKUs on the Open pricelists. We have made this process simple and straightforward for everyone involved.

When are these new SKUs coming?

Partners will be able preview these new SKUs on the Open License, Open Value, and Open Value Subscription pricelists on August 1, 2013 and will be able to transact through these programs on September 1, 2013.

Will there be other additional SKU/offers added into Open channel?

We will continue to monitor market needs and will assess the opportunity to include additional SKUs into the Open channel when appropriate.

Can existing direct or advisor customers purchase through Open?

SKU availability via Open Programs is just another method of purchasing Online Services from Microsoft. Existing direct or advisor customers with one of the Enterprise Plans (including Exchange Online, E1 and E3) can renew or add seats through the SKUs sold via Open Programs. When doing so, it is important not to duplicate the tenant by “Signing In” to the existing account rather than “Signing Up”.

Can existing Office 365 Midsize Business customers purchase the new Enterprise offers sold through Open?

Microsoft plans to bring a migration solution from Midsize Business to the Enterprise offers in the future. At this time, however, the Office 365 Midsize Business plan cannot be combined with the Enterprise offers and be managed as one tenant.

Will there be discounts or promotional offers for existing Office customers in Open to purchase the new Office 365 offers?

Office 365 Open Value Offer (OOVO) via Microsoft Online Services Program has recently ended. However, Office 365 Open Value Offer via Volume Licensing continues to exist via a promotion code “O365” for qualified organization-wide committed customers. Currently this process is available for Midsized Business SKU for commercial customers, and we plan to expand the migration solution for broader scenarios later in the FY14. More details will be disclosed later in CY13.  Please note that OVS-ES Pricelist will have SKUs with discounted O365 price, available only for qualified customers.



How do the new Office 365 SKUs differ from the same SKUs that are available in the advisor channel?

Office 365 products are the same across the different sales channels where they are offered. For example, the Office 365 Plan E3 product available in the advisor model is the same Office 365 Plan E3 product available in the Open channel.

Where can I go learn more about these new SKUs?

The hero motion for SMB is still Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsize Business. However, we will offer marketing assets through the Office 365 BEST campaign  that cover these new SKUs. These updated assets will be available in early Q1 FY14.

Additionally, partners can go to the Office YouTube page  to view various product videos that showcase the best features and functionality available across the Office and Office 365 SKUs.

Partners are also encouraged to participate in the Disti Bootcamp motion for FY14. These events have been updated to include information about the new offer in Open, and will kick-off in mid-September and run through the entire fiscal year.

Finally, partners can always find the most recent, up-to-date readiness content on the office MPN page located here.

I heard that you are now supporting upgrades between different SKU families. Can I move one of my current customers who purchased Office 365 Midsize Business over to one of the new enterprise SKUs?

We recently announced that we will soon be able to support some customers who want to upgrade subscriptions and provide them with automatic user transitioning. However, this functionality will not be offered to subscriptions purchased through Open, FPP or Volume Licensing programs. Also, government and academic SKUs are not eligible for these upgrades.

We recognize that this is a concern for our partners and customers who are transacting in these channels. Please know that we are working to provide this functionality sometime in the future and will provide updates later this year.

Can customers add additional services (i.e. extra SPO storage) to tenants with Enterprise SKUs purchased through Open?

Customers will be able to add additional services to their Office 365 subscriptions which were purchased through the Open channel. Customers will have to use the process that we have outlined previously with Office 365 Midsize Business. Customers must have at least one seat purchased via MOCP in order to attach services from the online catalogue, where they do pay via credit card or invoice. 


What are the Partner requirements for selling in the Open and FPP programs?

All partners are able to sell the products available in Office 365 Open and Office 365 FPP as long as they establish a reseller relationship with one of the Microsoft-authorized distributors. Prior to selling in the Open Programs, please learn about Microsoft Volume Licensing from

Partners selling Academic offers must be an Authorized Education Reseller (AER). More information on becoming an AER can be found here.

Finally, for partners to be copied on all communications to customers, they need to be listed as a Partner of Record on the customer’s Office 365 account. For more information on this topic, please visit to learn more.

How do partners make money selling the new Office 365 SKUs?

Although the actual amounts differ by customer segment (commercial vs. government vs. education), partners receive up-front margin like other Open Program purchases. Additional rebates or incentives will also be available for certain qualified partners (for example, incentives for government resellers). Finally, partners will continue to receive up-front margins when additional seats are ordered and if the customer renews Office 365 through one of the Open programs.

Is there a limit to the number of Office 365 seats that can be purchased via Open?

The Open program itself does not programmatically prevent larger orders.  However, customers/partners must adhere to the technical caps found in each of the products, which are the same across all sales channels. As a result, Office 365 Midsize Business will continue to have a 300 seat technical cap while Office 365 ProPlus and all the Enterprise SKUs will not have a seat limit. Please note that customers looking for more than 250 seats are strongly encouraged to explore the many benefits offered by purchasing through an EA instead of purchasing through the Open channel.



Bryan Von Axelson 2010

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