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Microsoft amps up Windows-as-a-subscription effort

Gregg Keizer | July 13, 2016
Swipes 'E3' and 'E5' labels -- and recurring payment concept -- from Office 365 to build enterprise plans that start at $84 per user per year

Interestingly, Microsoft has fully adopted the Office 365 labels -- E3 and E5 -- to denote the different plans for not only Windows 10 Enterprise subscriptions, but others, too, including Secure Productive Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

"E5 will be the maximum-compliance-and-risk-reduction [plan]," said Miller, comparing it to the same-named Office 365 subscription. "E3 will be for just getting things done."

Mehdi didn't make much of a case today for Windows 10 Enterprise E3, much less E5; but Microsoft will probably tout the programs in more detail as they become available to customers.

One thing's for sure, said Miller: The debut of Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5, and their per-user focus linked to recurring payments, doesn't mean subscriptions will suddenly supplant the perpetual OS licenses most users are familiar with. "There will be a mixture in most organizations for the foreseeable future," Miller asserted.

So what customers has Microsoft put in its sales crosshairs with Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5? Depends, Miller said. "Whether it's Office, Windows or management tools, you have to compare [the different licensing models] with what you do, what rights you require, how often you upgrade, a combination of things," he said.

Although today's announcement was aimed at resellers, Microsoft will almost certainly sell the Windows 10 Enterprise plans using its own sales teams and through its various direct channels, including the Enterprise Advantage self-serve licensing storefront set to launch in 2017.

 

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