Microsoft has revealed to many of its partners a price increase that will see user client access licences (CALs) rising by 15 per cent.
From December 1 2012, Microsoft will increase the price of user CALs, which allow an individual user to access Microsoft software from an unlimited number of devices.
Costs for a device CAL, which is intended for an individual device and provides server client access for an unlimited number of users for that device, will remain the same, according to Microsoft reseller Softcat, which announced the changes in a blog dating back to October.
The products affected by the latest increases are:
• Bing Maps Server CAL
• Core CAL Suite
• Enterprise CAL Suite
• Exchange Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
• Lync Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
• Project Server CAL
• SharePoint Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
• System Center 2012 Client Management Suite
• System Center Configuration Manager
• System Center Endpoint Protection
• Visual Studio TFS CAL
• Windows Multipoint Server CAL
• Windows Server CAL
• Windows Server RDS, RMS, Terminal Services CAL
According to advisory firm Constellation Research, Lync Server 2013 will only have the option of an enterprise version, meaning instead of paying $695 (£433) for a standard version Lync server, organisations will have to fork out £3,646 (£2,274) for the enterprise version.
Other changes include an increase in SharePoint price by 37 per cent, increases in Viso Standard (20 per cent) and Visio Professional (five per cent).
In a statement, Microsoft told Constellation Research that it had recently notified its partners about the changes.
"Microsoft recently notified partners about enterprise Client Access Licenses (CALs) changes so they can inform customers about their options before the changes take effect on December 1, 2012.
"These CAL changes include a user-based option that offers more value in support across unlimited devices and simplifies licensing management and compliance as devices in the workplace proliferate. Pricing for user CALs will change to reflect the increased value. Customers should work with their Microsoft partner or account team to assess their options," it said.
Analyst firm Gartner claims that, unlike with previous CAL price hikes in July 2007 and March 2011, the company has not given its customers several months' advanced notice regarding pricing changes but has instead relied on its business partners to break the news.
"Microsoft's messaging to its business partners is that they should use their own discretion in deciding whether they wish to inform their customers or to encourage early renewals from those customers with volume licensing agreements up for renewal between now and the first quarter of 2013, to avoid what some customers might consider a significant price increase," Gartner analyst Frances O'Brien said.
"We believe that Microsoft's silence and lack of advance notice to its customers may prove problematic for some organisations that rush to renew early simply to avoid a price increase," he added.
This is the second time the software giant has made licencing increases in 2012. In May, it increased licensing costs to UK organisations by about 25 per cent. The adjustments were made as a result of the devaluation of pound sterling in recent years, which left the UK prices looking cheap in comparison to prices prevailing in the eurozone.