Microsoft today announced that you no longer need an enterprise client access license (ECAL) to use the multi-mailbox search feature. This is a welcome change, of course, since it means that it is now OK to run multi-mailbox searches against mailboxes that are licensed with a standard CAL. In essence, Microsoft is giving standard CAL holders something for free that formerly cost money. ECAL holders, of course, aren’t getting anything extra out of the deal, but I’d argue that the other ECAL features (including legal hold and the Personal Archive feature) probably make up for that.
The interesting question to me is: why this change at all, and why now? It’s common for Microsoft to adjust licensing terms with new releases of Exchange, so my guess is that we’ll see some differences in how the data loss prevention (DLP) and information management features of Exchange 2013 are licensed and which specific mix of CALs you need to use them.
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