Included in the recent list of announcements Microsoft made about Power BI Local and Power BI Premium are a series of changes to the Power BI Free version which will go into effect on June 1. The free edition of Power BI will no longer be able to share reports. Currently free users could create reports and share them with others, which will be discontinued. Only Power BI Pro Editions will be able to share reports. Currently Power BI Pro users can create reports which can be shared with Free versions as long as no Pro features are used. This means that if a Power BI report is set to automatically refresh the data, that report cannot be shared as Free versions do not have the ability to create reports which have data refreshed automatically. If the report was recreated to remove the automatic updates and instead refreshed manually, then the report could be shared with Free versions. Starting June 1, the sharing feature will be removed. No longer can Power BI Pro users share anything to Power BI Free users. If you have a Power BI Free account, there is no way to share information in the service. The Power BI Desktop will continue to be free but since you cannot print the content within it and sharing a PBIX file means that you will always be sharing the entire data model, this is of limited value.
Future Releases of the Free Version
Microsoft does plan on continuing the free version and improving it. In the future, it will include features previous included only in the Pro version. While previously the data sets which the Free version was able to connect with were limited, they will soon match all of the data sets included in the Pro version. Data refresh will be supported, as will streaming and higher data storage rates. Other than sharing and workgroups, which are pretty big features, Pro and Free will have the same feature set.
How Power BI Free Accounts Can Share for One Year
If you have a Free Power BI account and have logged into the account prior to May 2, you have a year to use a Pro license. It does not matter if you have previously used a Power BI Pro Trial. This trial is a new one, and is available to anyone with a free account. After that, shared reports will not be accessible, unless the account starts paying for the Pro license.
There are a lot of conversations regarding the changes to the free account, and the other recent Power BI announcements. In my next post, I will be discussing the Power BI Premier option. To be notified of my latest posts, please subscribe to this blog using the link on this page.
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