Recently Microsoft announced that as of April 1, 2017, they will standardize all online services (OLS) durations to one year or less. In other words, they will remove multi-year agreement programs for online services in the Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA for those playing at home). This applies to all Office 365, Dynamics 365, Windows, and all other OLS currently sold on MPSA. What about Azure? That was removed as of February 1, 2017.
Why the change? I think it is to align programs. One of the primary benefits of moving to the cloud is flexibility. I think this move is good for the consumer and Microsoft. For the consumer, it provides a way to migrate to the cloud without the long-term commitment. For Microsoft, once you move to the cloud, you are almost always in the cloud. There’s a lot of talk about moving to the cloud, very little talk about moving away from the cloud. The reason? Very few migrate away. It’s like the mafia, once you think you are out, they drag you back in.
If customers want to purchase longer durations, they can still purchase it under the Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Open Value. For all others, CSP, MPSA, direct, etc. its one year. Existing customers with 2-3 year customers will not be affected according to the Microsoft Licensing Partner Guide. It also mentions that if customers with multiple year agreements add new users after April 1, those users will have the same services subscription dates. In other words, nothing will change. Once they sign a new agreement, it will align to the new one-year model unless they purchase under the aforementioned Open Value or EA.