Microsoft Unveils Enterprise Windows 10, Surface Pay-as-You-Go Plans

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Microsoft on Tuesday introduced to attendees at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto what amounts to pay-as-you-go plans for the enterprise.

One is Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) which is "basically the OS wrapped with security and management delivered as a subscription," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Another is the Surface as a Service Program, which lets Microsoft CSPs who are also Surface Authorized Distributors use a managed service offering to provision Microsoft resellers and customers with Surface devices, as well as managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and relevant products from independent software vendors.

The system will ensure that customers have the latest Surface devices fitted with the best and latest Windows and Microsoft Office features.

Business customers are flocking to Windows 10, with more than 96 percent running active pilots, claimed Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP in Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.

That's mainly because of the increased security risks they face and the industry-leading security features in the OS, he noted.

Security incidents cost an average of US$12 million each, Mehdi said, and there are more than 56 million small-to-mid-sized businesses in critical sectors like healthcare, legal and financial services in the United States that need strong security, similar to what Microsoft's large enterprises get.

Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP this fall will give businesses enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at $7 a seat per month through Microsoft's CSP channel.

Companies with limited or no IT staff will be able to get the full IT stack from Microsoft's CSP partners. The bundle will include Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure and CRM on a per user, per month basis. It can be scaled up or down as needed as a managed service offering.

This approach will let businesses move easily from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 without rebooting. It will also offer them one contract, one user account, one support contact, and one simplified bill -- and make it easy for them to comply with licensing requirements.

Much of Windows revenue currently comes from the OEM channel, and some organizations buy Enterprise edition through volume licensing, noted Michael Cherry, a senior analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

While Windows 10 Enterprise Edition in CSP sounds interesting, "there are important details in the terms and conditions that will need to be considered," he told the E-Commerce Times.

The Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP program "is basically for smaller firms who don't have PC support organizations," suggested Enderle.

"I expect it's cheaper than the alternatives," he told the E-Commerce Times.

Microsoft "has a pretty decent competitive pricing group, and has a history of pricing [services below] alternatives," Enderle remarked. However, whether or not it takes off "will depend on how much target businesses value the services."

Microsoft launched the Surface as a Service program in partnership with ALSO, a CSP in Europe, Mehdi said, and plans to expand the program worldwide.

This "primarily targets the mid-market, is less expensive than alternatives, and backed by Microsoft," Enderle observed. "Those that don't have issues with Microsoft should find it very attractive, because it appears both well priced and well timed."

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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