Increasingly it seems that perpetual licensing is going the way of the dodo – extinct. Then again, when it comes to Microsoft, on-premises licensing is on its way out too. So, when you pair those two trends together, you can see what’s coming down the road from Microsoft.
Rumor has it that the next versions of Exchange and SharePoint on-premises licensing, expected to drop sometime late this year, will be subscription only. Unfortunately, we have no idea yet how this will play out with server licenses and CALs. Presumably it will just be a price per-user-per month, and server licenses won’t be a set cost anymore, but that’s just conjecture at this time.
If this has you wringing your hands in trepidation because you really don’t want subscriptions, our best advice to you is to upgrade to the 2019 versions right now – they’ll be supported until 2025. Once Microsoft releases the 2022 versions of SharePoint and Exchange (or any of their programs, really), you can no longer buy previous versions. You can get downgrade rights, sure, but you can’t buy on their old licensing models. That means that whenever that new 2022 version drops (supposedly sometime later this year), perpetual versions will no longer be an option, and you’ll have to pay subscription — even if you downgrade.
This is clearly Microsoft’s newest way to get us all used to the idea of subscription – and eventually cloud – licensing models.