In Active Directory, Blog

Microsoft® recently announced they were eliminating the free use of Microsoft software for their partners. Known as Internal Use Rights (IUR) software, Microsoft has traditionally provided its partners with free-to-use software internally in order to help partners learn the product before reselling. After a global outcry from the partner community, Microsoft has since retracted their plans with an apology, but for many managed service providers (MSPs), it’s too little—too late. 

When Push Comes to Shove

As more of its software solutions are shifted to the Azure® cloud, Microsoft is claiming that providing these software licenses to MSP partners is more than just a hassle—it’s costly. In fact, Microsoft’s channel chief claims that, “[Microsoft] can’t afford this [program].” As can be expected, thousands of Microsoft partners are protesting the move by the company that earned over $8.8 billion in the last quarter, in part from sales brought in by their partners. 

While there may not be a silver lining long-term for smaller Microsoft Partners, they could look back at this moment and appreciate the irony. Microsoft’s underhanded pressure could end up being the spark that MSPs (managed services providers) needed to branch out their partner ecosystem. 

Of course, Microsoft solutions have been a mainstay for the past three decades, and solutions such as Microsoft Active Directory® have made it easier to manage and control Windows®-based networks and solutions. But, MSPs also know that the IT landscape has and continues to change with the new wave of AWS®, G Suite™, Mac®, Linux®, web applications, third party file servers (e.g. Samba and NAS appliances), WiFi networks, etc. These next-gen solutions are providing real value and ample opportunity for MSP customers to use best-in-class tools on the road to their own success.

Evaluating a True Microsoft Alternative

Part of the process of finding new solutions involves serious evaluation. This is usually done by leveraging products internally in order to first learn about the functionality, benefits, and drawbacks for various client environments. The good news is that there are vendors who continue to offer software for free to MSPs, and understand the value of allowing internal evaluation. For example, the JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® platform, which is a complement to and competitor of Active Directory, is freely available for up to 10 users, forever. In fact, JumpCloud offers each individual client of an MSP 10 users free as well, making the cloud directory service a no-brainer to install and stress test. 

The bottom line? MSPs are implementing JumpCloud’s identity provider as an alternative to Active Directory and Azure Active Directory, and they’re making money off of it. Some MSPs will use JumpCloud’s product for their under 10 user customers (free) and simply charge a management fee—a practice that JumpCloud more than encourages. In sharp contrast to Microsoft’s initial moves, JumpCloud offers not only internal use rights software, but extends free software to MSP customers which can translate into revenue for that partner. For larger accounts, MSPs commonly purchase discounted licenses and either embed the costs into their overall monthly fee, or explicitly pass along the price of JumpCloud per user to their customer. 

Regardless of how it’s positioned, bundled, and resold, JumpCloud’s cloud-forward alternative to Microsoft’s internal use rights software may be an interesting solution to those disenchanted by Microsoft’s partner program. To learn more about how JumpCloud’s Partner Program is enabling MSPs, check out our Resources page, watch the case study video below, or simply contact us for details. 

About JumpCloud’s Partner Program

JumpCloud’s Partner Program empowers IT Service Providers with central identity management from the cloud. Fine-tuned for MSPs with cloud security offerings or clients transitioning to the cloud, Directory-as-a-Service can be easily bundled at the center of any product stack to make your business, and your clients’ businesses, as efficient and scalable as possible. Make Work Happen™ for your clients while improving the bottom line for your business.

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