If you haven’t already heard, Microsoft is removing their Small Business, Small Business Premium, and Midsize Business plans, and replacing them with Business, Business Essentials, and Business Premium subscriptions. Starting October 2014, companies will be forced to subscribe to the new models at their next subscription renewal.

Many companies under 300 users have taken advantage of these plans, primarily due to the cost savings compared to the Enterprise (E1, E3, E5) subscriptions.

It is extremely important to note that there are some slight differences between the old models and the new. Particularly those who are currently using Small Business Premium or Midsize Business. Those with Small Business Premium and Midsize Business will be pushed toward Business Premium.

Two very important things to note for Business Premium:

  1. Users will lose Microsoft Access from their Office suite, assuming they are using Office 365 Pro Plus.
  2. Under Midsize Business, Microsoft allowed users to license their Office products within RDS/XenApp environments. Now, if a user attempts to license Office on a server that is a RDS session host, they will receive the following error:


So, if a company utilizes Office Pro Plus in any sort of RDS/XenApp environment, they must now subscribe to an Enterprise subscription (or purchase a volume license). Thankfully, Microsoft now allows the ability to mix and match users between Business and Enterprise, so it isn’t an all-or-nothing scenario if you only have a set of users that utilize RDS/XenApp in your environment.

The following article is helpful for making the transition:


Remember to carefully go over the changes to ensure this switch will not affect your users. It is pretty disappointing that Microsoft does not give you any notice of these changes when renewing your subscription.

Hope this helps!