Windows as a subscription
The rumors are now true, Microsoft confirms. A new type of licensing will be available for Windows 10 devices, provided through the Cloud Solutions Provider channel.
Starting this fall, businesses can get enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at just $7 a seat per month for the first time through the Cloud Solution Provider channel.
The OS will be available only for the Enterprise edition of Windows 10. This option is mostly directed for businesses who “do not have dedicated IT resources or limited IT staff, and want their licensing and IT needs managed by a trusted and experienced partner.”
For the first time, organizations can get the “full IT stack” from Microsoft, which includes Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure and CRM on a “pay-per-use” model. This means that organizations can purchase these products on a per user, per month basis.
This new option, from a cost and licensing perspective, is very appealing for organizations that have a fluctuating number of employees, or their license needs change on a per project basis. For those who do not fall in that category, the cost of this new licensing option will exceed that of having a perpetual license after 2.5 years of subscribing to it. This estimation is calculated by looking at the current price for a Windows 10 perpetual license compared with how much you would pay for monthly subscription fees.
Perpetual licenses are still here to stay, at least for now. Although in a not so distant future, Microsoft would like to see “Windows-as-a-service” as an industry standard for all companies, it will still take some time before that actually happens. Microsoft have yet to reach the 1 billion devices target, now counting at around 350 million devices (a figure which includes tablets, 2-in-1s, and PCs). The idea of “Windows-as-a-service” is about having just one Windows that would receive incremental updates, similar to how you have on Google Chrome. The notion of version will then become meaningless. Microsoft has confirmed on more than one occasion that the current Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows.
It is worth mentioning that the subscription deal is not in any way related to Microsoft's consumer offering. “This new subscription model is not associated with our current upgrade offering or applicable to the Windows 10 consumer edition,” a Microsoft spokesperson told PC World . However, Microsoft highlights that a business with at least one employee can take advantage of it.
Without any doubt Microsoft will expand its subscription coverage to consumers in the future, it’s just a matter of when, not how.
We already know that users who already upgraded to Windows 10 will not have any surprise subscription fees, at least for now. However, it will be interesting to see when Microsoft will draw the line for allowing the addition of new features without a fee.