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According to a report by ZDNet that cites sources speaking on background, Microsoft will be changing how it updates Windows 10 and structures their software licensing. Sure, it may change how business PCs are managed by small companies. But it might not be as radical as some voices in the industry want you to believe.

  • Computer World says: With DaaS Windows coming, say goodbye to your PC as you know it
  • Digital Trends proclaims: Microsoft to Take Charge of Your Windows 10 PC
  • From Extreme Tech: Microsoft is Exploring New Services to Charge Monthly Fees to Your Desktop

Hold up, wait a minute. Everyone needs to settle down. Breathe! Breathe!

Let’s look at what Microsoft Managed Desktop actually is (according to ZDNet reporting) and add the appropriate context. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley writes: “It will provide customers the ability to lease a Windows 10 device that’s automatically provisioned for them and have the operating system kept up-to-date and more for a single monthly fee.”

From what I gather, the plan is for Windows 10 Professional to be offered to businesses as a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) subscription, and with it, Microsoft wants to bundles desktop PCs with the subscription. This isn’t really anything new for Microsoft if you think in the context of what they have been doing for the last three to five years.

As software subscriptions are concerned, perhaps the easiest connection to make is when Microsoft introduced Office 365 in 2011. The company’s initial foray into subscription-based cloud productivity is now used by one in five business users. Office 365 has proven to be a win-win for Microsoft and customers alike. Office 365 drives more revenue over the long run for Microsoft, while companies benefit from lower costs associated with buying and managing hardware for hosting the Office Suite.

Also, Windows 10 is already a subscription program for some enterprise users. Microsoft launched Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in fall 2016 on a subscription basis, charging $7 per user. “For the price of a cup of coffee and a donut per day, you can get enterprise-class security on a per-user subscription basis,” a Microsoft VP of product said onstage in Toronto, taking a page from Sally Struthers’ playbook, when announcing the program at a Worldwide Partner Conference.

Microsoft is already offering leasing for Windows hardware as well. With the Surface Plus for Business program, they already bundle in Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Book 2 into a 24-month leasing program. There’s a similar leasing program they make available to students. You can bundle in a warranty and support by upgrading to the Microsoft Complete package.

You might think of a DaaS offering like Microsoft Managed Desktop like purchasing cable television. Buy the service from the telecom provider, and your monthly bill rolls in the hardware—modem-router combo, set top HDTV box—that you use to experience the service. On top of that, Microsoft handles Windows 10 Professional feature updates, which if you’re a systems administrator, you’re probably pretty stoked that MS is taking that off your plate.

That said, Microsoft’s value proposition becomes obvious. Offer smaller companies without IT resources a painless updating process which in turn yields a more secure operating system. As far as leasing computers, this is not a new concept, either. Our small business customers have taken advantage of the financing we offer and leasing IT equipment—including their business PCs—for years.

DaaS Boot: Does Microsoft Want to Commandeer Business PCs?
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DaaS Boot: Does Microsoft Want to Commandeer Business PCs?
Microsoft will be changing how it updates Windows 10 and structures their software licensing. Sure, it may change how business PCs are managed by small companies. But it might not be as radical as some voices in the industry want you to believe.
Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • KACJR says:

    It’s all well and good…until something breaks.

  • Jtomin says:

    $2.5K a year for win10 services, do you get a new PC each year and how much FBI, NSA snooping will be going on here??? And for a PC, I know only one thing, I need a raise!

    Most company have a hard time parting with $1K for a developer machine or CAD work-station still running win7 which they want you to use for at least three years. However, if you worked 70+ hours that week on Fridays they’ll give you a free doughnut. (ROFLMAO)

  • DW says:

    More fees, more licenses, no wonder business and some personal pc users are migrating to LINUX, it may not have all the bells and whistles spyware issued by Microsoft, but it is totally customizable and can be changed, modified and most distros are user friendly for the novice and the professional. Linux also has native RAID is that floats your boat and very lightweight and does not require heavy hardware to operate. Mods are encouraged, opensource is the way to go. I quit using Windows when it began hijacking my web browser and settings returning settings to MS settings on updates. Secure as you want to make it, only telemetry is your hardware so correct distro upgrades (if you want or need them) are installed and no trips to the big box stores for expensive software for your system. Enough with proprietary rented software. . .

  • Lawrence Knowlton says:

    There are many small businesses that DO have IT resources/support, so I all I see is another money grab dis-empowering customers from ownership of what they purchase and ‘providing’ them with a continuous monthly drain on their tight margins for services that don’t fit their budget or needs for (in the case of Office 365) products that don’t provide a customizeable UI that allow them to see any definition of buttons/tabs/personal folders. One size does NOT fit all!

  • Ryan Murray says:

    Unless you are running heavy handed software you can pick up a $500 desktop with windows on it and it will last until windows is out of support (or longer). Then you pick up another one. Sure we only have 14 clients (excluding my dev machine that gets a bit more power) but it basically cost us about $7000 every 5 years or so and now Microsoft wants to charge us that per year? Ironically as a .net developer I never really had the desire to switch to Linux but Microsoft has made it significantly easier, I can use .net core on Linux and now Microsoft is pushing us towards it. Chrome OS isn’t an option yet but will be someday soon especially with Web Assembly.

What's your take?