Microsoft Anounces Windows 10 Enterprise E3 OS as a Subscrption

Windows 10 EnterpriseWhen Microsoft said back in 2000 that someday your operating system would be something you'd rent, like cable, I had a hard time taking it seriously.

My goodness, how times have changed!

Monday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Enterprise E3 will be available on a monthly per user subscription basis for just $7 a month or $84 per year. Given that people have been paying $200-300 for Windows OS without upgrades, this is actually sounding like a pretty smart idea and one that will benefit both Microsoft and their customers.

Microsoft has struggled for many years now to get customers to accept their upgrade program called Software Assurance. We've tried to sell it, but people simply weren't buying it. Seems that most customers would rather take their chances than shell out 150% more over a 3 year period for the right to upgrade their software for free... eventually... someday. In fact, over the past five years, we've also seen many customers who simply "forgot" to renew their SA agreements after year 1, thus sacrificing their right to the upgrade. So, perhaps this position is somewhat justified.

A couple years ago, Microsoft offered free upgrades as part of Windows Intune at a cost of about $6 / month / user. This was a pretty good deal. But, Intune didn't really take off and the higher priced subscription at $11/mo fell flat, possibly due to the unpopular Windows 8. Seems Microsoft was peddling upgrades while everyone was asking about downgrade rights. The $5 component of Intune was bundled into Enterprise Mobility Suite and the software assurance component was officially scrapped about a year ago.

I actually liked the idea of SA as a subscription when it was part of Intune. To me, it makes sense that if you're depending on the publisher of your OS to constantly provide updates for security and to fix issues while staying on top of the latest technology, you would probably want to be paying them a recurring fee so they will have an incentive to keep working on improving the product. Plus, spending a small amount of money on a monthly basis makes a whole lot more sense to small businesses than shelling out thousands of dollars up front for Windows licenses.

The new subscription will be available through CSP, so if you're buying Office 365 from a Microsoft Partner like us, you can call on them (or us!) to also sell you Windows. If you're buying Office 365 directly through Microsoft, we want to know why haven't you looked into a Cloud Solutions Partner yet? There are lots of great deals available on Office 365 that can improve your support experience or give you other value-added features.

Microsoft has very little to say about the new plan other than its cost. They wouldn't say if the plan will be available as part of the August 2nd roll-out called anniversary edition. They had even less to reveal about the accompanying Windows 10 Enterprise E5 plan, which would include security features not found in the E3 - think ForeFront on steroids. There are also supposed to be bundles coming out that would roll together Office 365 and Windows subscriptions, as well as personal editions for home use, but we haven't got any details yet on any of these. We do expect that once those details emerge, we'll be able to sell them to you just the same as the E3.

Even though Microsoft has been largely mum about the details, we still feel like celebrating.

So, today we have a special announcement.

Liquid Mercury Solutions is a Microsoft CSP provider, gold competency partner, and among the top 10% of Microsoft cloud providers in the US for small to mid-sized business. So, to put our best foot forward with this new program, we're offering a special incentive to customers who want to take advantage of this new and potentially revolutionary way to license their Windows desktop fleet.

Starting today, we're offering 10% off Windows 10 Enterprise E3 subscription for the first year when you purchase an Office 365 E3 plan *or* our Full Monty bundle that includes Admin OnDemand 365, Compliance 365, and our managed Help Desk service.

So, that's Windows 10 Enterprise E3 for just $6.30/user/month or $75.60/user/year.

You can also earn this discount for blocks of users when you purchase qualifying professional services from us. For example, a one week engagement like SharePoint Online Jump Start earns the discount for 10 Windows users. That could amount to equivalent savings as one user getting a free year of Windows 10 Enterprise E3. The discount varies by service offering, so ask us for details.

Even though this Windows subscription plan isn't available today, you don't have to wait to take advantage of this promotion. All customers who purchase from us starting today will be eligible for the discount for all Windows licenses added to their cloud subscription for the entire year. We'll apply the discount for a full year after Microsoft makes the subscription available.

So stay tuned, and subscribe to our blog. The market's about to get all shook up! We'll update you as soon as we hear more information about these new plans.