Microsoft’s yearly partner conference took place in Toronto this year, and it recently wrapped up. The continued stories of Windows 10 and the company’s Surface computing device were among the most interesting announcements. Microsoft intends to open up access to these powerful business tools at organizations around the world through significantly different fulfillment programs than ever before.
Windows will see a radical change. Starting in the fall, Microsoft will be unleashing two subscription-based Enterprise versions of the Windows 10 operating system. The first level, known as E3, starts at $7 per month. This version of Windows includes a number of enterprise-friendly features such as a biometric sign-in system, a tool that sandboxes personal data separate from company data, and a number of low-level security mechanisms.
Businesses that are looking for more security and privacy can select the E5 edition of Windows 10 Enterprise Subscription. This version boasts a number of features that are designed to deal with modern security and privacy threats. E5 has all the capabilities of the E3 version, but it also includes a cloud-based service that uses machine learning technology, which can analyze incidents and breaches right at the endpoint itself. This tool also makes recommendations on how to fix issues. The threat mitigation service that comes with this platform will be known as Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. Pricing for the Enterprise E5 version has not yet been announced. Windows on this subscription model will only be available through Microsoft’s channel partners.
The company will also be changing up the Surface Pro programs by introducing a lease program known as Surface as a Service. This program allows partners to set a recurring fee on tablets, including subscriptions for Windows 10 Enterprise and Office 365. The move is designed to be CapEx friendly, allowing organizations to lower the cost of getting Surface Pros out into the enterprise without a large investment up front. Early adopters of the tablet reseller program include Booz Allen Hamilton and IBM Corp.
Microsoft’s pricing changes represent a significant shakeup. There is hope within the organization and throughout its partners that the changes will anchor a surge in enterprise adoption. Partners can look forward to gaining a stream of revenue in the long run, based on the overall value of the new contracts, while still seeing opportunities to provide related services. Service providers also have the ability to bundle services in a consumable monthly subscription package, which has the added advantage of meeting modern needs in flexibility, budget-friendly pricing, and scale.
Photo credit: Andrew White for WIRED, Wikipedia