New Changes With Microsoft NCE


Matt Johnson


September 14, 2023

Microsoft NCE licensing

Microsoft announced that starting January 1st, 2024 all existing commercial plans that are Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) will auto upgrade to New Commerce Experience (NCE) on that plans respective renew date.  NCE brought with it several changes in how licenses can be managed that deserve focus and planning.  


Why the Change?  

Since the inception of the CSP plan, Microsoft products have increasingly evolved. NCE provides a targeted approach in addressing the complexity and cost of managing licenses. The goal is to provide flexibility to support a range of various purchasing scenarios and enable customers to broaden their choices and buy more easily while optimizing costs. The NCE plan includes term subscriptions that ultimately reward loyalty and commitment to Microsoft while standardizing offers and terms.  


Am I Affected?  

The NCE model is strictly for commercial businesses. Non-profits, charity’s, education, and government organizations are not affected by NCE.  


How Does the NCE Model Work?  

Before we dive into all the details, there are a few key terms to understand:  

Subscription: the container for your licenses.  

Billing Term: frequency of payment  

License: a seat   

Under the NCE model, Microsoft has added guidelines for how users can add and remove licenses to a subscription as well as the ability to downgrade subscriptions. This change went into effect March 1, 2022. Below are the details of what these guidelines look like. 


Subscription Terms:   

Monthly Subscription:  

  • Under the NCE model, monthly subscriptions come with a 20% increase in cost  
  • You can upgrade the subscription, but downgrades are not permitted 
  • Ability to cancel any month with no further payment obligation 
  • Payment is due on the first of every month  
  • Auto-renew is enabled by default 


Annual Subscription: 

  • Upgrades are available on eligible plans 
  • Ability to increase user count at any time  
  • Cannot decrease user count during 12-month term 
  • Price is locked in for 12 months 
  • Billing options are monthly or annual  
  • 7-day cancellation/downgrade window  
  • Auto-renew is enabled by default 

You probably noticed a pattern… under the new NCE model, users are no longer able to downgrade to a lesser subscription or reduce the number of licenses. For example, if you sign on to an E3 subscription, moving to M365 Business Premium would not be permitted as it would be considered a downgrade. Also, while you can add additional licenses to your subscription, you cannot reduce the number of licenses during the term of a subscription.  


Seat-Based Subscriptions Impacted by NCE: 

  • Microsoft 365 
  • Dynamics 365  
  • Power Platform  
  • Windows 365  



The price increases below were set into motion on 3-15-22 and have not changed.   

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic – from $5 to $6 per user 
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium – from $20 to $22 per user 
  • Office 365 E1 – from $8 to $10 per user 
  • Office 365 E3 – from $20 to $23 per user 
  • Office 365 E5 – from $35 to $38 per user 
  • Microsoft 365 E3 – from $32 to $36 per user 


Key Takeaways 

Critical Dates:  

Following March 10th, 2022, partners were no longer able place new commercial subscription orders under the legacy platform. All new subscriptions will be set up in the NCE model.  

January 1st of 2024 marks the start of forced transition to NCE from the legacy platform once the subscription hits it anniversary (auto renew date).  


What to be Thinking About  

Gone are the days of being able to remove licenses and switch subscriptions as desired. Under the NCE model, removing licenses is considered a downgrade and is not allowed. Now is the time to be looking at what your organization currently needs and where it’s going over the subscription term. Lean on your MSP to help plan a strategy for what subscriptions work for your organization and how to strategically set up your licenses to optimize cost and scale with your business.  


Need help? Contact us today for assistants planning and managing your Microsoft licensing to ensure a smooth transition to the New Commerce Experience model. 

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