Dan Truax General Manager, Global Partner Solutions

Expanding opportunities for partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program

Update July 7, 2021: In addition to the existing commercial offers, government, education, and nonprofit software license offers are available for eligible customers in the Cloud Solution Provider program beginning today (nonprofit offers will roll out over three to five business days). A reminder that December 31, 2021, is the last day to transact Open License program offers.  As of midnight January 1, 2022, partners must be onboarded into the Cloud Solution Provider Program to transact perpetual software offers. More information is available here.

Update April 19, 2021: As we approach January 1, 2022, when no new software license purchases or renewals of Software Assurance or online services can be made through the Open License program, we’re continuing to provide resources to help partners and customers prepare for this update.

We have released new Cloud Solution Provider program reseller materials to help partners get ready for these changes. More information is available here.

Additionally, you can help customers transition from perpetual software to cloud solutions accelerating their digital transformation and cloud adoption with the following top scenarios.  

  • Windows Server and SQL Server on Azure: Grow cloud revenue by helping your customers migrate to Windows Server and SQL Server on Azure – the most cost-effective, frictionless way to move to the cloud. ​​More information here.
  • Transition from Office to Microsoft 365: Offer your customers the most collaborative, up-to-date features in one seamless, integrated experience with Microsoft 365. More information here.

Update March 15, 2021: We announced additional changes to the Cloud Solution Provider program and Open License program. More information is available here.

Update January 19, 2021: We announced general availability of perpetual software licenses in the Cloud Solution Provider program.

Update December 17, 2020: Today, as we continue to prioritize for the cloud, we have provided notice of future changes for public sector (government, education, and nonprofit) customers purchasing through the Open License program. More details are available here.

Digital transformation and moving to the cloud continue to be at the forefront of business planning and investments for many customers. Over the next five years, IT spending is expected to grow by almost 6 percent (IDC e-book, Digital Transformation 2.0). IDC predicts that by 2024, Microsoft partners will generate USD$1.2 trillion in revenue from Microsoft technology.

As a cloud company, Microsoft is committed to helping partners and customers succeed and grow through digital transformation. We are continuing our own digital transformation journey, too. Through investments in our commerce experience platform and in the Microsoft Partner Network, and by evolving our licensing and incentives programs, we are making it easier for partners to help their customers move to the cloud, take advantage of new offers, and capitalize on the growth of the modern cloud technology market.

The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program has grown exponentially, with more than 90,000 participating companies. It is our primary partner sales motion for small and midsized businesses and for smaller corporate customers within the new commerce experience. Partners can create and deliver differentiated offers to customers, selling the Microsoft cloud portfolio and third-party solutions from the Microsoft commercial marketplace alongside their own value-added solutions and services. They are enabled to manage the entire customer engagement lifecycle and establish their credibility with customers as trusted advisors.

Expanding opportunities for partners

To build on this momentum, we are expanding opportunities for partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program:

  • Targeting January 2021, partners enrolled in the Cloud Solution Provider program will be able to sell commercial perpetual software licenses for on-premises deployment through CSP. This will give customers the licensing flexibility they need as part of their digital transformation.
  • FY21 Cloud Solution Provider program incentives, coupled with a partner’s value-added services, enable greater profitability and margins for partners.

Perpetual software in CSP

The addition of perpetual software to the Cloud Solution Provider program in the new commerce experience will reduce the time and costs for partners associated with managing multiple licensing programs and lead to improved sales, operational, and management capabilities. Partners can expand their businesses by offering diverse solutions and managed services with the flexibility to combine licenses and managed services for hybrid cloud environments, further accelerating customers’ transitions to the cloud. Customers benefit from a simplified approach and greater flexibility in how they purchase software licenses in a way that’s easy to understand, that directly improves licensing asset management, and with predictable costs.

With a target start date of January 2021, perpetual software licenses (without Software Assurance) will be available to commercial customers through partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program. Customers can continue to work with you to renew and purchase new software licenses, Software Assurance, and online services through the Open License program until December 31, 2021. As of January 1, 2022, no renewals of Software Assurance and online services or new purchases of software licenses can be made through the Open License program, and new license-only purchases should be transacted through the Cloud Solution Provider program.

For details about the commercial licensing options and changes, read the announcement on the Microsoft Licensing news post and review the information on the Microsoft partner website.


We are committed to helping partners deliver transformative, cloud-based solutions to customers and consolidating purchases of both perpetual licenses and cloud solutions through the Cloud Solution Provider program. Incentive programs for partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program provide more flexibility for building deeper engagement and successful customer outcomes. After December 31, 2020, Microsoft will no longer offer Managed Reseller and Commercial Distributor incentives for Open License transactions. Learn more about partner incentives.

Build a profitable, sustainable practice

The Microsoft Partner Network can help you unlock sustainable growth and profitability. We have guidance, resources, and programs to support your business growth and accelerate your time to market. Explore your opportunities today.

  • If you are a reseller not currently enrolled in the Cloud Solution Provider program, contact your distributor of choice for information on how to get started, or connect with an indirect provider here.
  • If you are enrolled in the Cloud Solution Provider program, learn more about perpetual software in CSP and incentives here.

Through this transformation, one truth remains constant: Partners make more possible. You play a critical role in each customer’s journey. Our programs and resources for partners will continue to support you in this increased cloud adoption and digital transformation.