Microsoft has announced that it is introducing its first ever subscription model for its Windows 10 operating system, following pre-launch comments that it would be looking towards a software-as-a-service model.
Windows 10 is a major departure from the norm for Microsoft. As well as providing public access to beta-test versions under the Windows Insiders programme, it has been offering - a little too aggressively, perhaps - the operating system completely free of charge as an upgrade option for those running Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7 on their devices. Prior to its launch, Microsoft spokespeople made comments suggesting that it would represent a long-term release of the operating system similar to Apple's continuously-updated OS X, now known as macOS, and could even lead to Windows being offered as a 'software-as-a-service' (SaaS) subscription model.
Now, the first signs of that model are appearing with the launch of Windows 10 and Surface subscription options for business users. 'CSP [Cloud Solution Provider] partners will be able to provide a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as part of a managed service offering, which is ideal for businesses who do not have dedicated IT resources or limited IT staff and want their licensing and IT needs managed by a trusted and experienced partner,
' explained Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi in the announcement
late last night. 'Partners can now offer their business customers the "full IT stack" from Microsoft, including Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure and CRM as a per user, per month offering through a single channel, which businesses can scale up or down as their needs change.
The launching of a subscription-based licensing model for Windows, the company's first, is joined by 'Surface as a Service
', a pun on the SaaS acronym, which allows cloud partners to offer physical Surface devices alongside software products.
Microsoft has not yet indicated whether it plans to offer a subscription-based operating system licence model for home users, following the closure of the one-year free upgrade offer for Windows 10.