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PowerApps Licensing Bait and Switch

This effectively kills our PowerApps development. 
Please work on revising your latest license structure (Oct 2019) to allow us to use the product again.

For us this has gone from an effective enterprise form and app solution to an overpriced nightmare that will impact unsuspecting users who created applications prior to the change.

Status: New
Not applicable

I don't really understand the licensing model at all. I work for a large organisation and we have built a number of apps and flows that just use SharePoint lists for no additional cost. I assumed that if we paid for a per app licence that would allow us to connect to Dataverse for the specific app and everyone in the organisation would be able to use it. I am being told by out IT team that the reality is that that would actually cost $5 for each of the 12000 users per month. Is that right? No business case will be approved on that basis.

Super User

@Anonymous My understanding is that your IT Team are correct. Clearly this is a major barrier to adoption hence the recent 'halving' of the per App license cost (well, $5 for one app rather than $10 for up to two apps).

What the model fails to take into account (well, in addition to the fact that you often have to pay extra to connect two MS Services, both of which you are already paying for, e.g. connecting Power Apps to SQL), is how much the Apps are going to be used (a consumption based model).

You might want an App open to all staff to report 'near misses' which might be used by each staff member a couple of times a year, and a Point-Of-Sales App that is used constantly by just 10% of staff. The former App will cost far more than the latter.

In the cloud world charges should be based on consumption, not on how much value MS think you might be able to get from the Apps that you create. Its a bit like charging a million dollars for Word on the basis that JK Rowling* used it to write a book that made a billion dollars even though most people just want to write the occasional letter.

*Note - I have no idea what word processing package JK Rowling uses.


Kudo Kingpin

@PaulD1  :  would love PowerApps to be consumption based, but the reality of it is it's not going to be. It's the difference between the SaaS (Office, subscription-based) and PaaS (Azure, consumption-based) models.

I used to be a rather vocal opponents to the licensing switches made two years ago. I felt the pricing was simply out of touch with reality and killing an otherwise great product in the egg. Now I feel we're starting to have real options :

  • Dataverse for Teams is a great freemium option for many uses cases, especially when you look into the possibilities of the APIM connector
  • New pricing allow you to make "premium" apps if the business case has a 5$/user ROI (not unreasonable)
  • If you plan to have more than 4 premium apps per person, you can suscribe to the unlimited plan
  • You can get some good volume discounts (@Anonymous) to further lower this, sometimes significantly

The cherry on the cake would be a "Power Apps on Azure" dedicated capacity along the lines of Power BI Premium, but I'm now pretty happy with how things are.

Super User

@FredericForest : Glad you have found a way forward that works for you/your project scenarios.

I'm now starting to work in other technologies that I feel are a better fit for my project requirements and the licensing is a major (but not the only) factor that has pushed me away from Power Apps.

I haven't really experimented with Dataverse for Teams, 'locking' my apps within Teams does not seem a good fit for my projects and my understanding is that you can't even set a unique constraint on a DfT column so in some respects it seems even more limited than a SharePoint list, but maybe I'll give it a try if a suitable project comes along.

Super User

Do multiplexing rules apply to both a SQL database & the methods of transmitting data, or just to the methods of transmitting data?

For example, if I make a Logic App on a consumption plan without any premium connectors to sync a SharePoint list & SQL database, what are the rules & licensing requirements?

Given it is a consumption license like a per-flow license, can I run this without all the SP users needing licenses?

Kudo Kingpin

I think there's a doctoral thesis on that subject somewhere on web.

Super User

@takolota - my assumption would be that you would not need additional licensing in that scenario.

* SQL is consumption based

* Logic App is consumption based

* Each SharePoint user has a license to access SP

So what licenses would be required (legally rather than technically) to view/use the data moved into SharePoint by Logic Apps from SQL (given that you have already paid for SQL and Logic Apps)? 

That said, it does rather highlight how bizarre the Power Platform licensing is that had you chosen to use Power Automate rather than Logic Apps, I believe you would be legally expected to pay for 'every user who benefits', i.e. all the SharePoint users, even though technically you only need one license (for the Flow to make use of the Premium Connection to SQL) - at least as I understand it.


*  This is not legal advice 🙂  *

Super User

It looks like MS just released some more pay as you go licensing options:

Super User



Thanks Paul. And that was more of just a hypothetical to figure out some bits of the policies.

I actually found a way with a few clever design hacks to remove any premium actions in my transfers of data from Power Apps to SQL & back without any SharePoint. So I think anyone with an E3 or E5 type license can use the app under current multiplexing policies as of 09/2022.


If I were to use this for a Power App with any complexity though, it would require some extra organized design to avoid possible over-write errors if multiple applications are editing the same exact SQL rows at once.

And it takes a little more dev time.

And it means an extra like 20s of load time on app start-up & dataset refreshes, unless you want to pay like $40-$60 per month to alter the design a bit & reduce the load time to like 5 extra seconds.