PowerApps Licence Changes in terms that Matt Weston understands!

At the Microsoft Inspire Conference in 2019, it was announced that there were changes being made to the licensing throughout Dynamics, PowerApps and Flow. The announcement lacked a lot of detail, and so the only way that I can describe the reaction within the community, was PANIC!

It's taken Microsoft a while to release more details about what the actual licensing is going to be, from the 1st October 2019, but hopefully my summary below will help you to understand what you are going to get from your new licenses, and draw comparisons to what we had before.

The idea behind changing the licensing model is to simplify the pricing, and when the announcement was first released, the changes seemed like you needed a quantum computer to be able to process all of the information. As I have got my head into what Microsoft are doing, I am starting to see how this model is more simple, and from my initial musings, doesn't just seem to be Microsoft cashing in a good thing.

This particular blog focuses on PowerApps, I'll do a companion blog post for Flow in the very near future.

The license models for PowerApps are effectively broken down into five key areas:
  • Seeded Apps
  • Per User Licenses
  • Per App Licenses
  • Portal Licenses
  • AI Builder Licenses
The easiest place to start, is Seeded Apps.

Seeded Apps

What was this before 1st October? This was previously referred to as PowerApps for Office 365 or Dynamics 365, where a user could create an app with the intention of extending the functionality of Office 365. It had a number of connectors available to it interacting primarily with other Office 365 services, and was all paid for as part of your standard subscription

What is it after 1st October? Following the changes, not much really changes with this. It is still part of your Office 365 or Dynamics 365 licensing, it still allows you to create apps to extend your exploitation of Office 365, and it still has a number of standard connectors which allow you to interact with other services.

The key differences are that some of the Pre-Change connectors such as Azure SQL, Azure DevOps, Azure Automation (NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!) are going to become premium connectors. Likewise some of the Dynamics 365 connectors will also move to premium.

List of connectors moving from Standard to Premium status

As we're talking about premium, let's talk about the "Per User Licenses"

Per User Licenses

What was this before 1st October? This was previously split into two levels, known as Plan 1 and Plan 2. Plan 1 gave you access to the Premium Connectors, the Data Gateway and the ability to create Custom Connectors. Plan 2 gave you the Common Data Service and access to the suite of management tools. Regardless of plan, if an app was created using premium functionality, then both the creator and the user of the app would need the relevant license.

What is it after 1st October? The simplest way to look at this, is that the Per User plan is Plan 1 and Plan 2 consolidated into a single plan. A user with this license assigned to them has the full capability of PowerApps at their finger tips: all of the connectors, the management tools, CDS, everything!

But given that the Per User Plan will cost $40 per user, per month, this can quickly become quite expensive for smaller organisations. So for this reason, Per App Licenses have been introduced.

Per App Licenses

What was this before 1st October? This did not exist previously.
What is it after 1st October? Per app licenses allow us to apply licenses to individual apps rather than to users. Even with the Per App plan, you still pay per user, however because you're limiting the number of apps that you are building with this SKU, it is a quarter of the price. But you still get the full capabilities of PowerApps to use within your apps. You are looking at $10 per user, per app, per month.

One key reversal from Ignite, is that there is no longer a minimum number of purchases required.

The key consideration for this license option, is to understand what constitutes an "App". An App is comprised of 2 PowerApps and a Portal. This could be a combination of 2 canvas apps, 2 model driven apps, or 1 of each.

So if you're only looking at deploying a small number of apps, this option may become more cost effective approach to paying for the full blown licenses for each user.

As part of the app license you get a Portal, however they can can also be licensed individually.

Portal Licenses

What was this before 1st October? PowerApps Portals are effectively the successor to Dynamics 365 Portals.
What is it after 1st October? PowerApps Portals differ slightly from Dynamics Portals in that they are no longer paid for up front, they are paid for on a usage basis instead. The usage costs break down into three types:
  • Authenticated External User
  • Unauthenticated External User
  • Internal User

Authenticated External Users

Authenticated users are charged on a per-login, per day basis. If a user logs in, and then logs in again later in the day, or on another device within the same 24 hour period, then it will only count as one login. The cost per login will depend on the tier which you purchase for your portal:
  • 100 logins = $200 
  • 1000 logins = £1000
  • 5000 logins = $3500
As well as having the ability to have authenticated users using your PowerApps Portal, you can also have unauthenticated users.

Unauthenticated External Users

Unauthenticated users are those who are simply viewing a page and don't need to log in. These users have their own licensing model which is purely based on page views.

This is simply 100,000 page views, for $100 per month.

Internal Users

Internal users need to be licensed in order to be users of the PowerApps Portal. This is not covered by the Office 365 and Dynamics 365 standard licensing, it needs to have one of the paid plans associated with the user, whether that is a Per User, Per App or a Dynamics 365 Enterprise 

AI Builder Licenses

The final aspect just to have a look at is with regards to the AI Build Licensing. Whilst this in preview, the service is available to use, however once it goes GA it will be subject to monthly charges which will buy a tenant wide license. So whereas the other licenses have all been user or app specific, this one is tenancy specific.

For $500 per month, you will have 1 million service credits which can be used for processes using the Azure AI services. It's not quite as simple as being 1 credit per transaction. Instead it will depend on the load that is pushed through the Azure services e.g. a 5 page document being processed will consume less of the credits compared to a 50 page document.

Update: Transition Period

One thing that should be pointed out is that there is a period of transition, so things aren't just going to stop working on the 1st October 2019. These are the two scenarios:

Scenario 1: I already have a PowerApp which uses a connector being moved to premium

In this scenario, you have quite a long grandfather rights period in which to either re-engineer your PowerApp to use an alternative technology, or put in the correct level of licensing. You have until the 1st October 2024, to achieve this (by which point we'll have had several more changes to the licensing!). 

Scenario 2: I have a Plan 1 or Plan 2 which extends beyond the 1st October 2019

If you find yourself in this scenario, then any PowerApps that you have created prior to the 1st October will fall into what was described in Scenario 1. 

Any PowerApps that are created AFTER the 1st October with the listed connectors, will still work, however you will have until either the 1st October 2020, or until your Plan 1 or 2 is due for renewal, in order to transition to a new solution or new plan.

What else?

The final thing to be aware of is that there will be limits on the number of API calls made in a 24 hour period. This, in my opinion, is something which is more visible within Flow as we used to talk about the number of Flow runs, but it's worth calling out the limits that will apply to PowerApps:
  • Users on Seeded licenses: 2000 API requests per 24 hours
  • Users on a Per User Plan: 5000 API requests per 24 hours
Full details of the limits and allocations can be found here:


All in all, I think the new model is actually simpler than it used to be, the issue was that the communication for the initial announcement wasn't. In my opinion the introduction of the Per App plan makes access to the premium features much more affordable for a lot of companies who aren't heavily invested in creating functionality in the Power Platform, but still want to use the full capabilities of the platform in small pockets.

I've put together this image as a summary which I'm now including within my presentations:

The one thing which I don't like is the decision to move some of the Azure connectors into the premium package, particularly the Azure Automation connector, but at the same time it's not going to break the bank to be able to start using it again.

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