Microsoft Licensing for Both Apple and Microsoft in the Enterprise

By Dan Brewster

Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

March 31, 2016

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I often have clients ask how they might integrate Apple devices in the enterprise. Virtually every client has some Apple investment – an iPhone, an iPad, or a Macbook Pro.

Fortunately, Microsoft has made great strides on the Mac front in recent years. Microsoft Office 2016 is an elegant solution for Mac users that is almost on par with the Windows version of Office. There are iOS-specific versions of Skype for Business, OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive. From on iOS management perspective, Microsoft Intune enables mobile device management and BYOD across the enterprise by enabling policies across these devices.

Microsoft’s volume licensing agreements offer Mac Office as an option through Microsoft’s platform independent license terms – meaning that you may select either the Windows or Mac version of Office for deployment. In addition, the various Office 365 offerings all provide support for Mac environments, whether it is through Mac Office 2016, Office Web Apps, or the online versions of SharePoint, Skype for Business, or Exchange.

But what about Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers? Isn’t it an “all or nothing” proposition when licensing Microsoft products on the EA? Actually, that’s not the case at all!

Many clients will want to use some – but not all – Microsoft products on their Mac environment. It’s common for a client to want to license access for their Microsoft server infrastructure with Macs, but not for Microsoft Office or the Windows Operating System. This can easily be accomplished under the EA by creating user profiles, which are a powerful license optimization tool. But, with the expansion of enterprise desktop products (which now encompass Office, the Core or Enterprise Client Access Suite, the Windows Operating System, Bridge CALs, the Enterprise Cloud Suite, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and the Office 365 Enterprise SKUs) it gets a bit complicated. It’s common to have different profiles for different types of users, including Mac users – I help clients through the profile creation process regularly, and it’s really worth the effort.