Microsoft has revealed plans to introduce device-based subscription for Office 365 ProPlus. After years and years of preaching the benefits of the subscription-based model, which is tied in to the user identify, the powers that be finally caved to the thousands of organizations out there that have users working on shared devices. For the majority of these scenarios, neither the user-based subscription model nor the shared computer activation model worked, so it’s nice to finally see this addressed in a more satisfying manner.
Microsoft did release a device-based licensing feature a while back, however it was only available for EDU customers and only in the US. In case you have missed the news on that front, you can find some information here.
To facilitate the device-based licensing model, the Licensing page in the Office 365 Admin Center has been updated to recognize devices as valid objects for licensing, at least when it comes to the Office 365 ProPlus (device) SKU.
Although it will only accept a group that has the devices as its members, not the devices directly. For the groups themselves, you’ll have to leverage PowerShell or Azure AD itself.
On the user front, users will get access to the “standard” desktop apps regardless of their own license. They will get the full functionality of the apps and will also be able to use “connected services” as long as they are logged in with their organizational account. Applications such as Outlook, OneDrive or Teams will of course require users to have a valid account to be configured, and for that the user will require a corresponding, user-level product license.
If the user access the device without being logged in with an Azure AD account (as in they are using local account on the device), they will still be able to use the full set of features in the desktop apps, without the cloud services.
The current expectation is to have this feature broadly available sometime around summer 2020, but plans can of course change. To get some additional details, watch the New and flexible way to use Office 365 ProPlus on your shared devices session.