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Today, we catch up on the latest enterprise technology news. PHOTO: Joanna Bourne

The past couple of weeks have been busy weeks for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft. It released a new version of SharePoint, it released a new version of Exchange, it released a new version of Skype for Business, and in midst of the entire new-release hubbub, it announced that it is increasing the price of Office perpetual licenses as of October.

But it is not just Office. Microsoft is increasing the price of perpetual licenses for its big enterprise servers by 10 percent too, including Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition, Exchange, SharePoint Server and Project Server.

In addition to this,CALs (client access licenses) required for personal computers to connect to, and access information on, Microsoft's server software, will jump by 10 percent too while RDS per Device CAL (Remote Desktop Service) will climb 30 percent.

There is no real secret as to why Microsoft is doing this. If, over the past couple of years, we have seen Microsoft stress the importance of the cloud in its business model and how it would prefer if people moved to the cloud, this is the first time that it has really used the price-argument.

The term perpetual license refers to a software license that is paid for with a single, up-front fee, which in return gives the buyer the right to use that software in perpetuity. The price of perpetual licenses of Office have remained the same since the release of Office 2010. Microsoft now says it wants to create “consistency” and “transparency” across all its channels and to highlight the commercial sense of moving to the cloud. On its partner network blog, it wrote:

 “On October 1, 2018, we will adjust pricing for our licensing programs and make price adjustments to on-premises and cloud products. These changes will highlight the benefits of our pricing for a cloud-first world, help us move from program-centric to a customer-centric pricing structure, and create more consistency and transparency across our purchasing channels... The intent of modern pricing is to clean up how we manage pricing and discounting to align to how Microsoft and partners sell cloud services. The pricing today is inconsistent, causing friction, and acting as a barrier to closing deals.”

There is no mention anywhere of changes to the price of Office 365, or any of the other cloud suites like Microsoft 365.  From this, it seems clear that Microsoft is not looking at the perpetual licenses as a long-term option, even if it is due to release new versions of Office 2019 for both Windows and macOS, and Exchange 2019 on October 1.

Microsoft 365 Live Events Goes Public

Sticking with Microsoft and Microsoft 365, the company has announced the public preview of "Live Events" that will make connection and engagement across the digital workplace easier, quicker and more effective. According to Lori Wright, general manager for Microsoft 365 Collaboration the new intelligent event capabilities were released to add live and on-demand events for teams and across the organization.

Making those capabilities generally available will give everyone a chance to fit them into their digital workplaces and figure out where they will be most effective. It also gives enterprises a way of “driving alignment of people around shared purpose and goals,” according to Microsoft This, Wright shared in a blog about the release, enables organizations to build an engaged workforce using four principle means:

  • Live events can be used to kickstart interactive discussions across your organization using Stream, Teams, or Yammer.
  • Enabling leader to foster sustained dialogue in open communities by giving everyone a voice
  • Plan corporate communications and measure impact
  • Empowering all leaders across an organization including leaders of communities, matter experts, functional managers and individuals who are leading areas of expertise

To create a live event, you will need an Office 365 E3 or E5 license and your admin must give you permission to do so. To attend a live event, you need an Office 365 license for authenticated users. Public (anonymous) access is possible in specific configurations.

Facebook Buys Redkix For Workplace

This week saw Facebook buying the Israeli startup Redkix, which provides tools that combine email with a more formal collaboration tool. Redkix will join Facebook’s Workplace, a subscription-based social platform, to help other companies collaborate. Facebook released Workplace back in 2016.

Unsurprisingly, financial details of the deal were not revealed, — although Israeli business magazine Globes, citing sources close to the deal, claims it is about $100 million — but since it set up, Redkix has raised $17 million. Redkix employees, including co-founders Oudi Antebi, CEO, and Roy Antebi, CTO, will join Facebook’s Workplace team. The Redkix app will shut down.

Redkix co-founders Oudi and Roy Antebi said in a blog on the company’s website said that they share the same collaboration values as Facebook. “Bringing people closer together are at the core of Facebook. Workplace brings this mission to enterprises to make them more connected and productive. We're aligned with their vision and excited to work with them to help companies collaborate and get work done.”

The challenge for Workplace by Facebook remains formidable though. Slack said in May that it now has 70,000 paid teams on the platform while Microsoft Teams had about 200,000 organizations using its platform as of March.

DocuSign Buys SpringCM

Staying with acquisitions, San Francisco-based DocuSign, the e-signature and digital transaction management firm, has announced that it is buying Chicago-based SpringCM for $220 million in an all cash deal. SpringCM makes document generation and contract lifecycle management software. DocuSign plans to use SpringCM to broaden its core services beyond e-signature and expand its total addressable market.

With SpringCM, DocuSign plans to provide services for what is known as the "System of Agreement" process, which includes preparing, signing, acting-on, and managing agreements. DocuSign CEO Dan Springer said the company previously collaborated with SpringCM to offer joint customers tools for agreement lifecycle management, but is now looking to move those tools in-house. "We have many more DocuSign customers asking us to provide these capabilities natively as part of our platform. That's why we believe today's announcement makes such great business sense." This is DocuSign's first since acquisition since going public in April.

DocuSign said on Wednesday that five of its 12 directors are resigning and that three new people will be joining the board. They included former GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, Docker CEO Steve Singh and IBM executive Inhi Cho Suh as directors.

SpringCM raised $25 million of venture capital and appointed a new CEO, Dan Dal Degan. DocuSign, for its part, went public in April

Impraise Raises $10.6 Million

Finally this week, New York City Impraise, which develops what it describes as a people enablement platform, has raised $10.6 million in Series A funding. The investment is led by Keen Venture Partners (KEEN) with participation from existing investor, HenQ.

Impraise is a web and mobile platform backed by a team of in-house performance management specialists. The company helps organizations reimagine performance and development processes to increase productivity, engagement, and retention. Impraise said it would use the money to grow its platform.