Microsoft announced in July that it planned to offer a version of Windows 10 on a monthly subscription rate for enterprise customers, and today it officially launched Windows as a Service through its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) network.
Businesses of any size can now subscribe to Windows 10 Enterprise E3, its official name, for $7 per user per month. In its announcement, Microsoft described E3 this way:
"Windows 10 Enterprise E3 was designed for businesses that handle sensitive customer data (such as credit card or social security numbers), operate in regulated industries, or create and monetize intellectual property. These businesses need enterprise-grade security and management capabilities found in the Windows 10 Enterprise edition, such as Device Guard, Credential Guard and Managed User Experience."
Microsoft announced that ALSO, Tech Data and Synnex are the launch partners and will have Windows 10 Enterprise E3 available to offer to their resellers starting today (Sept. 1). They can now deliver the full range of Microsoft enterprise offerings, including Azure, Dynamics, Office 365 and Windows as a complete, cloud-delivered and managed service via a single customer user profile.
Existing enterprise and business customers are not required to switch from standard Windows install to the monthly subscription; it's merely an option for them. They just may find it more flexible for their needs.
Microsoft has a second subscription model, called E5, planned for Oct. 1. This will be offered by the same partners and offer the same benefits as E3, but it also comes with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and "advanced IT administration management functionality."