Microsoft has released a new feature that adds support for concurrent license assignments in Exchange Online. The latest release enables organizations to assign more than one Exchange Online license to each Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) user.
Previously, the Microsoft 365 admin center and Azure AD PowerShell restricted IT admins from allocating concurrent Exchange Online licenses to the same Azure AD user. This means that administrators were required to remove the old license before making any new assignments.
Specifically, the license assignment wasn’t permitted for any combination of the following plans: Exchange Online Essentials, Exchange Online Kiosk, Exchange Online Plan 1, Exchange Online Plan 2, Microsoft /Office 365 (F1, F2, F3, E1, E3, E5, A1, A3, A5), Microsoft 365 Business packages, as well as select Microsoft Teams and Project licenses.
With this release, Microsoft has now introduced the ability for IT admins to stack licenses for Exchange Online customers. This capability has been available for both SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams for quite some time now. Microsoft notes that the license that supports more features (such as protocol access, transport limits, and mailbox quotas) will take higher precedence over the other assigned plan.
“For example, if the user has E3 and Kiosk assigned, but E3 is then removed from the AAD user, then Exchange Online will ensure the corresponding Mailbox User or Mail User will be granted access to Kiosk features only. If the user is later also assigned E5, Exchange Online will grant the user access to all the features of E5, regardless of if the user still has assigned a concurrent Kiosk license,” the Exchange team explained.
Benefits of concurrent Exchange Online license assignments
Microsoft explains that the new approach will help to streamline the Exchange Online license management process for large enterprise customers. It should also be helpful for companies switching to SharePoint or Microsoft Teams. Microsoft plans to roll out this feature to government customers in the first half of this year.
In related news, Microsoft is working to improve the Exchange Server update and deployment process in on-premises environments. The company has invited IT Pros to provide their feedback through an “Update Experience” survey until the end of this month.