Microsoft to hike enterprise cloud pricing

US businesses shouldn't worry for now

With price increases set for Microsoft's business cloud products, including Azure, Office 365, CRM Online and Enterprise Mobility Suite, in a number of regions, Microsoft has remained quiet about its pricing strategy for the US. The price increase will affect customers in much of Europe, Canada and Australia starting August 1.

Email correspondence between Microsoft and Aidan Finn, Hyper-V MVP and Technical Sales Lead for a Dublin distributor, reveals that Microsoft plans on increasing prices by as much as 26% for some of its products.

"Microsoft periodically assesses our pricing to ensure there is reasonable alignment with the market. In light of the rapid evolution of the market for cloud services and evolving local dynamics, we can confirm that as of August 1, 2015, we will adjust prices for most enterprise cloud products within the EU/EFTA region," Microsoft told ZDNet, confirming that UK pricing remains unaffected.

Who is affected

The changes will apply to cloud products under new or renewing contracts, Microsoft said. These price changes won't affect customers under existing annuity volume licensing agreements.

Azure pricing will increase by 11% in the European Union and European Free Trade Association countries. Australian Azure customers will be hit with a 26% hike. Finn said that Office 365 pricing will go up by 8% to 10%, CRM Online by 10% and Enterprise Mobility Suite by 26%.

Microsoft cites currency fluctuations as cause for the price increase. Given this reasoning, and a stronger US dollar compared to the Euro, US pricing may not be immediately affected.

Coincidentally, August 1 is also when Microsoft's client-access licensing price will go up by 13% for on-premise products.

The rate increase comes at a time when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is placing renewed focus on the cloud as part of his "cloud first, mobile first" strategy.

Windows 10

The rate increase will come just after the consumer debut of Windows 10 on July 29. Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Home will be priced at $129. European pricing is £99 or €135. With currency conversion, that amounts to $155 for UK customers and $151 for Eurozone countries.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade during the first year of release for customers upgrading from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, so these prices only apply if you're upgrading from an older version of Windows or if your PC doesn't come with Windows pre-installed.

Windows 10 Enterprise is not expected to arrive this month.

Office 365

Office 365 customers will be treated to a new version of the Office suite later this year. Microsoft is currently previewing Office 2016, which features better collaboration tools with real-time presence and editing, new charts, improved performance, simplified file sharing and more.

Combined with Continuum in Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, once your tablet or smartphone is attached to a larger display, Office will scale to fit the larger screen to allow for a better, more productive user experience.