Microsoft is making changes to its client licensing technology to make it easier for customers and IT admins to manage Office activations for subscription-based clients.
There’s two major changes that customers are likely to notice, and two for the admins managing those activations. The biggest change stems from Office activations and deactivations being user specific, rather than device specific.
If a customer reaches the maximum number of device activations, they’ll no longer be prompted to deactivate Office on another device when trying to sign in to a new device. Instead, users will be automatically signed out of Office on the device that was least recently used, and will be asked to sign in again next time they activate Office.
IT admins will have an easier time activating Office 365 on reactivated devices. Users with reallocated devices could previously receive an error if the previous user deactivated Office from the portal or if the license was removed from the user. From now on, users will not receive an error thanks to the activation and deactivation being user specific.
Microsoft has also improved activation reporting, meaning when a user activates Office on a device and a second user signs in later, the second activation will now display correctly in the Admin Centre’s Activation Report.
Users will still need to sign in to activate Office on their devices, and will be limited to signing in on five desktops, five tablets and five mobile devices.
The changes will start rolling out next month for commercial users on the monthly channel billing cycle. It will then roll out to the targeted semi-annual channel (for pilot users and application compatibility testers) in September and the regular semi-annual channel in January 2020.