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Microsoft will start selling Windows 10 as a subscription product to large businesses

Microsoft has pushed the Windows 10 free upgrade deal with an almost single-minded determination, ignoring all the complaints and even lawsuits in an attempt to get everyone possible on the latest version of its operating system. We might have had our suspicions as to why Microsoft was so anxious to get people upgraded, but we dare not accept it as a reality until now. Microsoft wants to sell Windows as a monthly service. The company has confirmed that Windows as a service is becoming a reality, but only for enterprise users right now.

Beginning this fall, Microsoft will offer Windows 10 Enterprise E3, a new business-oriented tier of Windows 10 that doesn’t have a permanent license cost. Instead, a company pays $7 per month for each seat. This will make three services enterprise users are able to pay for monthly including Windows 10, Azure, and Office 365.

The free upgrade program for Windows 10 runs through July 29th, and many users have voluntarily taken part. Windows 8 was seen as a serious misstep for the company, as it attempted to push a touch-centric interface on all users, even those on desktop PCs in an office. Microsoft is careful to state that the new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 does not affect its pricing plans for consumers at this time.


When the free upgrade deal runs out, Windows 10 will cost $119 for the home edition (same as the OEM license right now), $199 for professional, and $99 for an upgrade from home to pro. A business that subscribed to Windows 10 for $7 per month would get 28 months of service before the cost exceeded that of a standard license. For a business with varying numbers of workers, this might work out well in the long run to ensure the they aren’t buying licenses for Windows that no one is using.

Microsoft is adamant that upgrading a device to Windows 10 or buying one with the software already installed will grant access to the OS for the entire life of the device — your PC isn’t going to suddenly start asking for a monthly fee to keep working. However, Windows 10 has automatic upgrades enabled by default on all consumer installations. It could be possible for Microsoft to add features over time that encourage users to upgrade to a monthly plan.

There are a ton of Windows users in the world, and converting even a small percentage of them into monthly subscribers could have huge benefits to Microsoft’s bottom line. This is something other companies like Adobe have done in recent years, but Adobe now only offers its flagship products like Photoshop and Illustrator as subscriptions. Microsoft would have trouble with a similar model as most consumers get Windows with a new PC, and they don’t expect it to come with an extra monthly fee.

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