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Micromail has once again won Microsoft Ireland’s prestigious LSP Partner of the Year award. The 2016 award was presented at Microsoft’s annual Irish Partner Awards dinner at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto on 12th July.

The LSP Partner of the Year award recognizes excellence in licensing solutions & services, along with the highest levels of customer service. It confirms Micromail’s position as the most successful LSP (Licensing Solutions Partner) in the country.

Congratulations to all the Micromail team. This award is a tribute to their expertise in software licensing, and their dedication to exceptional customer service.

Adobe Select – New Licensing Options from Adobe

Adobe today have launched a major update to their VIP (Cloud) licensing program for Commercial & Government customers – and it’s good news for customers already on the Cloud or contemplating joining. These new licensing options, dubbed Adobe Select, offer great value and budget predictability. Furthermore, they bring structured discounts within the scope of a regular Cloud user.

Changes in discount structure

This is the main update that will interest & affect Adobe users. Previously Adobe Cloud programs had discount bands, but they were unrealistically high. An order for 50+ seats was required to access any additional discount from Adobe! This was completely out of the scope of most Irish Creative Cloud customers. The new reduced discount bands offer a great opportunity for savings – an order of 10+ seats of either Creative Cloud or individual Apps (like Photoshop) provides access to an additional 5% discount, possibly rising to 10%.

The old and new bands:

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10+ seats opens a new Adobe Select Agreement, or converts your current agreement to Select

Current Customers

What of companies who already have an Adobe VIP Cloud agreement in place with over 10 seats? Well, good news. Once you reach your Adobe ‘lookback’ period (31 days before VIP Agreement anniversary) you will be automatically upgraded to the level which you qualify for – and can then avail of the new rate of discount for renewals and new licenses.

3 Year Extended Term

Further good news – Adobe Select customers (10+ seats) will now also be able to lock down their pricing for three years. Once an order is placed, contact Micromail and request a 3-year commit – this will allow you to pay annually for three years, with price protection in place. Even better, Adobe will offer an additional 10-15% discount for committing to the three years.

Don’t have the necessary 10+ seats currently, but interested in securing Adobe Select pricing? It’s possible to commit to a 10+ seat purchase so you can avail of the additional extra discount immediately – simply contact Micromail for further details.

Office 365 in Education, and Recent Changes

Microsoft have been very generous to educational customers looking to subscribe to their Office 365 services. They have been less generous however when it comes to explaining exactly what services are on offer, and of informing customers when changes to these offerings occur. There is a lot of information ‘out there’ but in our experience this seems to have caused more confusion than clarity.

So what is on offer, who qualifies and how do eligible customers access these service offerings?

To begin, a short history of the Office 365 family and the different suites available to education. The majority of my discussions around Office 365 start by explaining that Office 365 is a family of products, rather than the ‘latest version of Office’. A lot of customers (educational and otherwise) believe that ‘Office 365’ was the natural successor to the Office 2013 suites (Office Standard and Pro Plus). This, as we know, is not the full story: ‘Office 365’ is essentially a suite of products, largely cloud based, which chiefly consists of Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint and Office 365 Pro Plus. As cloud based services Microsoft provision and manage Exchange, SharePoint, Skype and Office 365 Pro Plus from their datacentre infrastructure (cloud I/F). Office 365 Pro Plus here is what people typically associate with ‘Office 365’, that is the familiar applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Rather than these products being the ‘latest version’, they represent a new licensing model, namely a change to ‘per user/per year’. So if you want to use Office Pro Plus 2016 you can still purchase it outright as a perpetual license if you please, or via a 365 per user/per year subscription. In essence the product’s functionality is the same, however the move to ‘per user’ and a Microsoft managed update cycle bring some major benefits and challenges.

The Education offerings and recent changes

Microsoft have for some time made a suite of the 365 products available to education for free. Exchange, Skype for Business and SharePoint were originally made available to education for free as part of the O365 Education A2 Plan. This plan lacked some ‘enterprise’ features available in the higher plans but was intended to bridge the gap for customers who up to this point largely viewed Enterprise class email as beyond the means of school IT budgets. The paid for O365 Education A3 Plan enabled access to all enterprise features, as well as the Office 365 Pro Plus per user subscription. There was some reshuffling of the suites in early 2015, when A2 became E1 and A3 became E3. For all intents and purposes, the offerings remained the same – E1 gave you hosted Exchange, SfB and SharePoint, while E3 added the Office 365 Pro Plus product etc. Microsoft announced some significant changes to the line-up at their worldwide partner conference in Orlando in July 2015, where they announced and have been rolling out a rebranded ‘Office 365 Education’ which replaces the E1 offering. Just another name change, right? Well, no, not in this case. The launch of Office 365 Education (still free!) saw Microsoft opening up ‘enterprise’ features of Exchange, SfB and SharePoint under this free subscription offering. For a comprehensive breakdown of what is offered, see the following live pivot.

What about the Office suite of products?

Well, Office 365 Pro Plus remains a paid for product – unless your organisation has a qualifying annualised agreement in place. What does this mean? Well a typical scenario would look like this – a school licenses their on premise desktops and laptops etc. via the Open Value Subscription Education Solution Agreement (OVS ES). This allows schools to pay an annual fee based on staff count, which covers them to deploy their chosen software site-wide on all school owned computers and laptops. If that set of software includes Office, the school typically qualifies for free Office 365 Pro Plus for students and staff.

Finally, a word on Office 365 Education Plus

This suite was rolled out directly to qualifying customers’ tenants by Microsoft. It combines the feature set of Office 365 Education and Office 365 Pro Plus. This is important as it halves the work for both the customer and partner when it comes to assigning seats and aligning renewal cycles. Furthermore, unlike the Office 365 Pro Plus subscription, the subscription is auto-renewing. Customers already using O365 Education and Office Pro Plus should simply assign these licenses instead.

Feel free to drop me a line…

Clear? Well, hopefully you’re a bit clearer on the Office 365 offerings in education now, but feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

For more information on Office 365 in Education please contact
phone 021 4515590


Seán Deasy


Microsoft have now made Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise Edition available to all active Visual Studio Premium with MSDN and Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscriptions. Immediate access to Visual Studio Enterprise is available from the MSDN portal:


For more details on the 2015 options check out this link:

From July 1st, on-premise User CAL pricing will increase 15% across all Microsoft volume licensing programs. On-premise Device CAL pricing will not change.

Microsoft CAL (client access license) licenses are available both on a per user and per device basis and were priced the same up until December 2012. The on-premise User CAL increase is another sign that Microsoft’s Mobile First, Cloud First strategy continues to steer the direction of the company. It is also a move that encourages customers to adopt Microsoft Office365 cloud solutions as the per user CAL increase only impacts on-premise deployments and not cloud based ones.

Notes and comments:

  • On-premise Device CAL pricing will not change.
  • Customers that have purchased user CALs on a fixed price annuity agreement (Enterprise Agreement, ESA, SCE, OVS, OVP) won’t be affectedduring the term of their current agreement.
  • Now is the time to consider a cloud based agreement such as Office 365 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility Suite and Enterprise Cloud Suite (dependent on the size of your organization).
  • Forestall the July price increase by purchasing on-premise User CALs in June.

If you have any questions or queries call our Microsoft Licensing Team on 021 4515590 or email

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Visual Studio 2015 is due to be released later this year and with it the former Visual Studio Premium with MSDN and Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscriptions will both disappear, to be replaced by the new Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN level. Visual Studio Professional with MSDN will continue to be available.

What is Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN?

This new edition includes all the high value features that were present in Visual Studio Ultimate, along with new innovation that’s coming with the 2015 release.

  • End-to-end solution for your development teams, including the most feature-rich Visual Studio IDE for working on any type of project.
  • Build quality applications at scale with advanced features such as Load Testing, automated and manual testing and new IntelliTest capabilities.
  • Manage complexity and resolve issues quickly with features such as Code Map and IntelliTrace
  • Enhanced MSDN subscription benefits including comprehensive access to software for dev/test, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Online Advanced, $150/month in Azure credits, training and support.

Don’t have Visual Studio Premium with MSDN yet?

Buy or renew Visual Studio Premium with MSDN now and be automatically upgraded to Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN when Visual Studio 2015 is released later this year.
For the price of Visual Studio Premium with MSDN, you will get Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN, the top-end IDE and the most comprehensive solution set ever offered for creating, modernizing, operating, and scaling business applications.

Upgrade to Visual Studio Premium with MSDN

Upgrade from Visual Studio Professional with MSDN or Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN to Visual Studio Premium with MSDN for 50% off the regular list price and get a free upgrade to Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN automatically when we release Visual Studio 2015. This Upgrade Promo ends on June 30th. *

* Upgrade Promo notes:

Eligible Licenses:
Only active Visual Studio Professional with MSDN and Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN licenses purchased prior to April 1st 2015 will be eligible for this upgrade promotion.

Eligible Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs:
The promotion is available for purchase in the following Microsoft Volume Licensing programs: Enterprise Agreement (including SCE), Select, Select Plus, Open Value, Open Value Subscription, Campus Agreement. Notably, the Open program does not offer upgrade purchase (also called “step-ups”).

Promotion duration: May 1, 2015-June 30, 2015.

If you have any questions or queries call the Micromail Microsoft Licensing Team on 021 4515590 or email

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Fionán Ó’Cinnéide is seen here with his award for winning the Adobe Education Salesperson of the Quarter for Q4 2014 in the UK and Ireland. Fionán has clocked up more than 7 years experience guiding customers from all sectors through the various Adobe licensing programs. Currently, with Adobe’s ongoing transition to an annual subscription model, he is busy working with 3rd level institutions on how best they prepare for the termination of perpetual licensing.

Congratulations Fionán, well deserved.

By Stephen Foley, General Manager.


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Adobe have announced that CS6 & perpetual licensing will be removed as an option for educational institutes at the end of February.

What will this mean for educational users who have not yet moved to the Creative Cloud? Well, essentially it’s a significant change from once off payment to an annual cost. While this may not be entirely palatable, there are a number of great advantages:

  • Annual budget predictability  – stable reoccurring costs rather than large unpredictable payments.
  • New version cover included – always have access to the latest feature releases of the software.
  • Huge range of new products & services to access compared to traditional CS.


Further good news is that there are migration paths in place for institutes with previous Adobe agreements; and two particular offers will run until the end of March:

  • 25% off Year One & Two subscriptions if ordering 25+ seats
  • 40% off Year One & Two subscriptions if ordering 40+ seats


We will be covering all this in extra detail on the 25th of February – join us for a free webinar to discuss CS6 end of life, and the great benefits of the Creative Cloud for educational institutes & charities.

When: Wednesday 25th of February @ 11AM – 45 min session
Where: Online

Register Now


Fionán Ó Cinnéide

Adobe have just announced that CS6 perpetual software will no longer be available via volume licensing to educational users from the 28th of February on. This isn’t surprising, given that CS6 hasn’t been available to purchase in the commercial & government sphere for quite some time. However this will have an impact on institutes still relying on CS6.

So what options are available from March on?

The only purchase offer available under volume licensing will be Creative Cloud for Teams subscription – so this means a 12-month access to the latest version of Adobe’s Creative products, CC 2014. Not ready to switch to CC 2014? Well – good news – the Creative Cloud subscription also offers access to CS6; so you can install CS6 instead, or even install both CS6 & CC 2014, and run them side by side. So CS6 isn’t going away, and will still be readily available, but only via an annual subscription. CS6 itself is now over two years old, so the switch to CC 2014 is recommended, to avail of the latest Creative toolsets from Adobe.

In the meantime, CS6 perpetual licenses will still be available to purchase until the 28th of February, so you have over a month to consider your options and requirements.

Finally, we are expecting some attractive promotions from Adobe to ease the transition from perpetual to subscription – more to follow.


Fionán Ó Cinnéide

Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14 2015. Common questions we have seen customers ask are, ‘What will this mean for my organization?’ ‘What happens after July 14?’ and ‘What can I do now?’

Windows Server 2003 will continue to operate after July 14 2015, but importantly it will operate unsupported by Microsoft. This means no security fixes will be released for Server 2003 and support (free or paid) will be non-existent. The lack of updated security fixes is a major issue, exposing your environment to possible malware attacks. Plus newly released applications will unlikely be supported on Windows Server 2003.

So what should I do? The simplest way to deal with potential issues is to get current and upgrade to windows Server 2012R2.
For more information on bringing your Server up to date please contact or 021 4515590.


Hugh O’Donoghue