For months Microsoft has been describing Windows 10 “as a service” and now we know why. Microsoft is going to introduce a monthly subscription fee for Windows 10 usage…
That cost will be $7 per user per month but the good news is it only applies to enterprises, for now. The new pricing tier will be called “Windows 10 Enterprise E3” and it means Windows has finally joined Office 365 and Azure as a subscription service.
Of course the big question is now: How does this new subscription pricing affect the millions of consumers who upgraded to Windows 10 on the promise of it being free?
The good news is Microsoft has gone on record to say it is not being passed down to consumers at this stage: “This new subscription model is not associated with our current upgrade offering or applicable to the Windows 10 consumer edition,” a Microsoft spokesperson told PC World.
Could Microsoft eventually introduce Windows 10 monthly subscriptions for consumers? Without doubt, but I would be highly sceptical they would apply to anyone who has already upgraded. That said there is likely to be a threshold in future where Microsoft will draw a line in the sand for the ongoing addition of new features without a fee.
Why? Because Microsoft has confirmed on many occasions that Windows 10 is the “last version of Windows” meaning it will be updated on a rolling basis with no Windows 11 to replace it. Consequently there will have to be a cut off point somewhere, sometime – mostly likely when Microsoft feels Windows 10 is at the ‘Windows 11’ stage of development.
At that point I suspect Microsoft may simplify things and just rename it ‘Windows’. Here is when all Windows pricing could become subscription only given even upfront costs would expire at some point and become a messy marketing exercise.
But in the meantime the rush is on for those who still want to upgrade to Windows 10 while it is free. The window for this closes on July 29th and Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will then cost $119 and $199 respectively for consumers who didn’t upgrade.
Out of interest at the $7 per month enterprise rate, consumers would get 17 and 28 months use out of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro respectively. This isn’t a great deal for Home users and shows a new consumer-focused pricing tier would likely need to be introduced to make it more appealing should Microsoft go down that path in future.
Until then Windows 10 will remain free a little longer and for millions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 users it is make up your mind time…
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