How Can the EU Avoid the New 40% Microsoft Tax on Premier (Unified) Support?

Microsoft is making the shift from a Premier to a Unified support model. Due to the rise in cloud services, Microsoft is changing the way it provides support in a business environment more aligned to pay for consumption versus servers, paying through subscriptions and expecting 24/7 support. The catch, though, is that Unified support will apply across all on-premises and online Microsoft applications – not just online services. Some are asking how they can avoid this new “Microsoft tax.”

With Premier Support, you purchase a block of hours for different categories of support, such as Proactive and Problem Resolution Support (PRS). It’s a more flexible, customizable model to fit into your specific needs. With Unified Support, you will pay a percentage of your annual licensing costs for unlimited PRS and unlimited electronically-delivered proactive support. The annual cost for Unified Support is 6% to 10% (depending on the level of Unified Support selected) of Office 365 and client software annual costs, and 8% to 12% of other software and online services annual cost.

counting money

So what does that mean for the vast majority of Microsoft Premier Support customers today? If you’re in the US, you will likely pay 30% to 60% more for Unified Support. If you’re a country in the European Union – such as Germany, England, France, Ireland, Switzerland, and Luxembourg – currency fluctuations mean you can expect to pay up to 40%+ more for Microsoft Unified Support.

Think this is normal? Think again. This change will mean those paying for Microsoft Support will pay 33 to 39 percent of licensing costs for maintenance. That’s significantly higher than the industry standard 18 to 25 percent today.

Asking Yourself the Right Questions

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Will the transition to a new model be worth paying a 40% premium in the European Union? Here are questions our clients overseas are asking us:

  1. Will I have flexibility in terms of paying for the service I need? In the Premier model, you had a per hour pricing rate based on consumption. In the Unified model, at all levels (core, advanced, performance) of Unified support, pricing is a percentage of your Office 365 and client software annual costs as well as a cut of your other software and online services annual costs. If that doesn’t work for you, you should look for a third-party alternative. US Cloud which only bills you for the services you consume, in the manner that works best for you.Will the transition to a new model be worth paying a 40% premium in the European Union?
  2. Will I have a dedicated account management team for my Microsoft stack? In the Premier support model, it depended on how much you paid; it can be a technical account manager or team, which is either shared with others or dedicated specifically to you. In the Unified model, it’s basically the same but with different terminology (e.g. service delivery team or manager).Headset and telephone
  3. Is proactive support included in the cost I’m already paying, or is it an add-on?
    In the Premier world, that’s part of the hours you pay for automated or online programs (read: ones that don’t involve a human being). For a Microsoft engineer led assessment, you’ll have to use your existing hours to get that service. In the Unified world, non-human proactive support is unlimited. However, you will pay extra for an engineer. Or, if you are a Performance or Advanced tier Unified support customers, you will have a certain number of days built into your contract. If having an experienced Microsoft engineer on call to help you out is important to you, be prepared to pay more money or look for a Microsoft support alternative like US Cloud, which offers you its more than 20 years of experience across all Microsoft technologies as part of the support hours for which you’ve already paid.
  4. Will I have to pay extra for problem resolution support (PRS)? If it’s reactive support, you can use your specific PRS hours. In the Unified model, these hours are unlimited. However, online services will cost you extra in the Unified support model as part of the fees we talked about earlier.
  5. Will the initial response time improve? No – unless you’re a performance tier Unified support customer. Right now, the Premier support service commits to a one hour response time for catastrophic or critical issues. Everything else gets two hours. In the Unified model, the one-hour critical/catastrophic SLA holds, except for Advanced tier Unified support customers; they’ll have a 30-minute SLA for critical issues. For standard problems, expect to wait anywhere between 4 and 8 hours. US Cloud responds within 6 minutes to all calls regardless of how critical they may be, and whether you’re in the US or across the Atlantic in the European Union.
  6. If my issue requires third-tier Microsoft support, is that included as part of my Unified support contract? For Premier customers, it comes at an extra price even if the issue wasn’t your fault to begin with. In the lowest tier of the Unified model, you have no way of getting to third tier support. For all others, it’s included but at varying levels of criticality. US Cloud has handled more than 61,000 support tickets for customers around the world. Less than 1 percent have escalated to Microsoft. However, in the case you do need to get escalated to that level, it’s included in your hours; we will work with you every step of the way to navigate the Microsoft support system and get you the resolution you need as soon as possible.

There Is an Alternative

For our European Union customers in Germany, England, France, Ireland, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, there is a Microsoft Unified Support alternative that will deliver higher quality support for a fraction of the cost:

      • 35-40 percent cost savings. Only purchase the support you need and don’t pay extra for support on products you don’t use. Your hours never expire, and we offer multiple payment options to meet your specific needs.
      • A white glove customer experience, every time. We respond to your inquiries in six minutes, five times faster than Microsoft. And, we won’t make you repeat yourself when we transfer you to the right experts to solve your issue. All our support staff is located in the US, fortified by strong infrastructure, high reliability, robust processes, and 20+ years of Microsoft expertise.
      • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant. Even though we’re a US-based company, many of our clients do business in the European Union. We take pride in keeping your data and intellectual property safe, satisfying multiple compliance regulations in effect around the world including GDPR.
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