Project 2013 Packaging, Pricing, and Licensing

February 25, 2013

The new version of Microsoft's desktop and server application for project management, Project 2013, received price increases for client and server software licenses, while the licensing model and editions remained the same. Customers considering an expanded deployment of server-based features may be able to use promotions available for a limited time to lower costs on the desktop software and licensing to access the server.

Desktop software for Project 2013 consists of two editions: Project 2013 Standard edition is the base-level client software, designed for people creating and managing individual projects and programs; Project 2013 Professional edition adds resource management and advanced server integration and includes a Project Server 2013 Device Client Access License (CAL). Each edition is licensed per-device and received a 5% price increase with the 2013 release.

Project Server 2013 is designed for enterprise-level project and project portfolio management. Server licensing for Project 2013 is based on the Server/CAL model, with CALs available for devices or users. Device CALs are typically used in scenarios when one device is used by multiple people, and User CALs are used when individuals require server access from multiple devices. Pricing compared to Project 2010 was increased by 15% for Project Server, 5% for the Device CAL, and 20% for the User CAL.

Individuals with a need to create and manage projects in Project Server require Project Professional. Customers with Software Assurance (SA) on Project Standard licenses have the option to upgrade to Project Professional through a step-up license, currently on promotion with a 15% discount through June 30, 2013. (SA is a subscription offering that provides rights to new product versions and other benefits for an annual fee.)

Customers interested in an organization-wide Project Server deployment can apply a 55% discount on Device and User CALs through June 2013. The promotion requires Project CALs to be acquired as an Enterprise Product, meaning every qualified device or user must be licensed through an Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP), or Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS).

Other Changes May Impact Overall Costs

While most licensing rules and use rights for Project 2013 Standard and Professional remain relatively unchanged, mirroring those for Office 2013 client-side applications, a variety of other changes raise the overall cost of deploying Project.

Project clients need SA for Windows To Go (WTG) roaming rights. This new Windows 8 feature allows users to boot a computer from a Windows 8 image on a USB flash drive rather than using the OS and applications installed on the PC's hard drive. Specifically, the primary user of a PC that has a Project 2013 Standard or Professional license covered by SA may go to an unlicensed PC and use Project from a WTG USB drive as long as the unlicensed PC meets two conditions. First, the unlicensed PC booting from the USB drive must be off the organization's physical premises. And second, the unlicensed PC may not be "controlled, directly or indirectly" by the organization (generally understood to be a proxy for device ownership). Note, however, that in practice, connecting to a Project Server remotely through a WTG instance will generally require User CALs. The limitation of the Device CAL (included with Project Professional or available separately) is that it cannot be reassigned with sufficient frequency as a means to license access to Project Server as a user transitions from device to device.

Server licenses need SA for frequent reassignment. The right to reassign licenses between computers more frequently than every 90 days now requires SA. This change may increase costs for customers who virtualize server workloads and require the flexibility to move virtual machines (VMs) between servers on a frequent basis. However, most of the licensing fees for Project are generated by desktop software and CALs, so the new server-side license rules shouldn't impact overall licensing costs significantly.

SharePoint gets more expensive. SharePoint Server 2013, a suite of components for Web-based document sharing, team collaboration, and business intelligence, among other functions, is a prerequisite for Project Server 2013. SharePoint Server 2013 received a price increase of roughly 40% compared to SharePoint Server 2010. SharePoint Standard and Enterprise CALs, required for Project Server client licensing, received 15% price increases for User CALs.

Use rights for MSDN subscriptions also changed, removing production rights for Project Professional on Oct. 1, 2012. As a result, developers may need to purchase new Project licenses for production as Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscriptions expire. Microsoft partners may be further impacted by recent changes to the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription, which reduced internal use right licenses from five licenses to one.

Availability and Resources

Per-user CAL price increases affecting multiple products including Project Server are outlined in "Per-User CAL Prices Raised 15%" on page 16 of the Dec. 2012 Update.

Project Professional step-up and companywide CAL promotions are noted at

License model and use rights for Office 2013 is documented in "Office 2013 Perpetual Licensing Largely Unchanged" on page 15 of the Jan. 2013 Update.

Reassignment rights changes for Project Server are noted in "Virtualized Servers More Likely to Need SA" on page 17 of the Nov. 2012 Update.

The removal of Project rights with MSDN is outlined in "Production Use of Visio and Project Removed from MSDN" on page 22 of the Feb. 2013 Update.

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