Yes, we all knew it would cost money to buy after 29 July and yes, we know that Microsoft has successfully stopped piracy as each W10 licence is tied to a unique machine ID composed of information from its motherboard, processor, ram, hard disk, and video card information. Change more than one or two items — especially motherboard and processor — and you will need a new licence.
Microsoft has announced that W10 Enterprise version will now come as a service – for enterprise licensing only. The cost is US$7 per month for “W10 Enterprise E3 and can be packaged with other Microsoft 365 services like Office and Azure via its Cloud Service Providers (CSP)". Independent research by Forrester shows this will save larger enterprises a substantial amount.
Microsoft has stated that this will not affect consumers and the average business users who can purchase W10 Home (or Pro) with a new PC or buy a licence for an existing PC. The difference is that the full licence is not transferrable as it was with previous versions of its full retail boxed product.
The company also announced that its Surface product range would be available to enterprise as a service – SaaS. Details are sketchy, but its CSPs can negotiate device refresh periods, replacement policies, servicing, maintenance and more all for a monthly fee. If this takes off — as its previous trials with Dell would seem to indicate — Microsoft will become one of the larger players in the subscription economy with hardware and services.
Microsoft has not made any additional announcements about introducing ongoing costs for Windows 10 users except to reinforce that it will remain free for the lifetime of the device its used on. “This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device at no additional charge.”
By locking the licence to a device, it is banking on recurring revenue from its OEM sales of new computers and replacement for end-of-life devices. The good news is that once upgraded you can clean install W10 – it automatically picks up the machine licence.
It’s one-year free offer is nearly over – it was a valiant effort to stop fragmentation and give Microsoft control over upgrades as Apple has with macOS and iOS.
At the last count according to NetMarketShare, it had about 350 million users on W10 or about 19.15% of the market. Windows 7 stubbornly sits at 49.05% of users, XP at 9.78%, and Windows 8.x at 8.01%.
But Microsoft says those figures are out-of-date, and it has around 30% market share for Windows 10. Microsoft’s figures should be correct. NetMarketShare use a sampling mechanism.
iTWire will be attending briefings on the Windows 10 Anniversary edition update later this week. It will cover sessions on Enterprise and Consumer features. The Update will roll out from 2 August.