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Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central Licensing Initiatives and April Deadlines

Microsoft’s transition to their new licensing model can be very confusing. Their own communication on the topic is overwhelming and muddy at best since it blends a mix of commentary on versions, licensing models, and price lists.

First, here are a couple of key points to keep in mind before decoding what’s really going on:

  • Dynamics Business Central is the re-branded, latest version of what was formerly known as Dynamics NAV
  • Microsoft ultimately wants all new and existing users to be on Business Central using their new named user licensing model
  • Microsoft has different licensing models available for NAV (there are more than these, but keeping it simple): Module Based licensing, Business Ready licensing, Perpetual licensing, and Named User licensing
  • Some older NAV customers (2009 or earlier) are still on Module Based licensing or Business Ready licensing
  • Price lists are tied to the licensing model

What Is Happening Currently? (up to April 1, 2019)

New customers can purchase:

  • Business Central with named user licensing
  • OR, NAV 2018 with perpetual licensing

Existing customers (assuming they are up to date with their maintenance fees) can transition their license to:

  • Business Central with named user licensing
  • OR, NAV 2018 with perpetual licensing

What happens after April 1, 2019?

All new customers can only purchase:

  • Business Central with named user licensing
  • Existing customers with module based licensing or Business Ready licensing (assuming they are up to date with their maintenance fees) can only transition their license to:
  • Business Central with named user licensing

Existing customers on perpetual licensing (assuming they are up to date with their maintenance fees) can transition their license to:

  • Business Central with named user licensing
  • OR, NAV 2018 with perpetual licensing

So the urgency is really for customers currently on NAV 2009 (and earlier) who are on module based licensing or Business Ready licensing and wish to move to NAV 2018. To do so, they must acquire the license prior to April 1st, even if they plan to complete their upgrade to NAV 2018 sometime in the future.

We also contacted Microsoft for a definitive answer. Here is part of their reply:

” All customers that are on Perpetual licensing and current on support should currently have access to 2018 license keys in Partner Source. If after April 1, 2019 a customer decides to upgrade from an earlier version of perpetual to 2018 those keys will be accessible in Partner Source.”

On top of all this, Microsoft is offering an enticement for customers currently on module based licensing, Business Ready licensing or perpetual licensing to transition to names user licensing. Until July 2020, existing customers can trade in their number of licensed seats for twice as many named user licenses. In other words, this is a 2-for-1 deal.

If you are a customer with a perpetual license and you want to upgrade to NAV 2018, you can still do so after April 1st. If you opt to upgrade to Business Central, you will also need to upgrade your license to named users, which you can do at any time but you have the 2-for-1 incentive available until July 2020.  For existing customers who are looking to move to a newer version, we generally recommend re-implementing on the latest version of Business Central, however there may be reasons to upgrade to NAV 2018 instead.

If you need further help or clarification, Email or call us at 1-888-467-7101 and we will be happy to help.


Floyd Chan
Floyd Chan
Floyd Chan, Qixas President, is known by his peers in the Microsoft Dynamics Channel as “the NAV genius.” As a revered Dynamics NAV architect, he is the go-to person for resolving the most complex challenges that might arise during a NAV implementation. Due to his reputation in the Channel, Floyd’s NAV training programs, presented online and throughout North America, are always sold out! Follow Floyd Chan on LinkedIn