Microsoft reveals details of Windows 10 subscription model

Windows 10 Enterprise E3 becomes a managed service for enterprise users short on staff

Microsoft reveals details of Windows 10 subscription model
Rob Schultz

It was always Microsoft's intention to turn Windows 10 into a cloud service with a monthly subscription attached, and now the company has rolled out details of its new subscriptions for enterprise customers, which will be introduced later this year.

Microsoft made the announcement at the Worldwide Partner Conference currently taking place in Toronto. Starting this fall, the company will offer Windows 10 Enterprise E3 through its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) network on a subscription basis at $7 per seat.

Microsoft explained that its CSP partners will be able to provide a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as part of a managed service offering, "which is ideal for businesses who do not have dedicated IT resources or [have] limited IT staff, and want their licensing and IT needs managed by a trusted and experienced partner," the company said in a statement

In addition to Windows, CSP partners can offer their business customers the full stack of IT applications and services, such as Office 365, Dynamics Azure and CRM on a per-user, per-month rate. Plus, there is the benefit of being able to manage a customer's IT needs more efficiently across the entire organization.

The monthly subscription model offers flexibility on pricing and services, so companies can change or adapt their usage as needed instead of being locked into a long-term contract. There are no up-front initial purchase costs, which are often quite hefty and might put off potential customers because of the big lump-sum purchase. 

It's a smart move to do it this way because it puts the partner network in charge of selling, promoting and providing Windows as a Service instead of Microsoft directly. They know the local market. And after Microsoft’s horrendous push to get people to move to Windows 10, trust in the company has undoubtedly been damaged.

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