Purchasing Microsoft cloud products today and in the future

September 14, 2021 Update: New animation available here

July 7, 2021

When it comes to buying Microsoft cloud products and services, you have choices: buying from partners or buying from Microsoft. The most important place to start is assessing your own needs.

Today, you can purchase through various licensing agreements, such as the Enterprise Agreement. In the future, there will be only one agreement to sign, the Microsoft Customer Agreement. Let’s take a closer look at the different purchasing options while we transform our commerce experience. This will help you understand the benefits and limitations of each way to buy.

Understanding your needs

In reviewing your purchase options, consider the following questions. What technical resources will you need to drive your digital transformation? How do you want to manage your invoices and billing? What are your support needs? Do you require any special terms in your contract? Answering these questions will help you decide on an option that best meets your needs.

Let’s start with identifying how partners can help you achieve your goals.

Buying through partners

No matter how you buy, Microsoft partners can help you succeed by providing a wide range of services to help you envision innovative solutions and validate opportunities for digital transformation. And, we can assist with finding the right solution and connecting you with the right partner for your specific situation. Find a Microsoft partner.

One way to buy is through our partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program who can bring a wide variety of expertise, including security, identity, compliance, governance, dev ops, as well as automation and optimization services, and much more. Buying from a partner in the Cloud Solution Provider program is ideal for customers who prefer outsourcing cloud infrastructure to expert partners or need managed services for part of their business. When you buy from your partner, Microsoft terms and conditions are supplied with the Microsoft Customer Agreement.

If you’re interested in buying directly from Microsoft, you have additional options to consider.

Buying from Microsoft

You can choose to purchase Microsoft products and services online---buy what you need, when you need it. Terms and conditions are provided under the Microsoft Customer Agreement, but you can bring in partners with many different services, solutions, and more at any step of the way. This is ideal for real-time purchases on the web with no minimum purchasing requirement and the ability to pay immediately with a credit card.

For organizations that want to license Microsoft on-premises software and cloud services organization-wide over a three-year period, today the Enterprise Agreement is the best choice. This option currently supports customers with multi-affiliate and multi-tenant scenarios under a single agreement and allows for custom terms for customers with special licensing needs.

If you’re looking to buy Microsoft Azure from your Microsoft sales team (and for additional cloud products in the future), the Microsoft Customer Agreement provides a simplified purchase agreement that is presented, accepted, and stored through a completely digital experience. You’ll gain access to new invoice and cost management capabilities to help you understand and optimize your Azure costs, all in the same portal where you manage your Azure services. Currently, the Microsoft Customer Agreement is available in only certain markets (see here for more details) but will eventually expand to more markets and products.