Terminated User License Woes

As I’ve mentioned, my company has an E3 Office 365 tenant. We have roughly 2500 active user mailboxes. We also have an additional 300+ mailboxes belonging to terminate users. Our legal department wants mailbox data kept “forever.”

Now that we are on Office 365 Wave 15, we have the new In-Place Hold option available to us. What I had been told is that we could set the In-Place hold on a terminated user’s mailbox and then delete the user account, or at the very least, remove the E3 license from that user. After reading a couple of articles on TechNet, I’m no longer sure that is the case.

I posted a question at http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/158/p/194838/577887.aspx#577887 hoping that the community could provide assistance. The first response I got was from a Microsoft Support Engineer. He indicated that at least an E2 license would be needed and provided additional links to articles for me to read.

After reading the articles, it appears that my original understanding may be correct. The article talks about deleting the user after the In-Place Hold has been placed on the mailbox in question. To me, that assumes the removal of the license from that user as well.

Here is the article the support engineer linked to: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn144876(v=exchg.150).aspx

I would appreciate any feedback those of you out in the wilds of the Internet could provide. If I do come up with an authoritative answer, I will definitely write it up and share it here.

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