There’s lots of chatter about Windows 10 so we’ve posted a licensing call that we recorded for Microsoft which sets out the fundamentals of how Windows as a service will work, the editions of Windows 10, licensing Windows per-user instead of per-device and how customers can get the Windows 10 upgrade.
Some important highlights:
1 – Windows will be an evergreen service and devices on Windows Home and Pro will have Windows updated at no ongoing cost.
2 – Windows Home will be on what’s known as Current Branch which means those machines will get feature updates as soon as they’re released.
3 – Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise with Software Assurance (SA) will default to Current Branch but can be set to Current Branch for Business which allows them to defer feature updates for up to eight months. If updates are not deployed within that time, the OS will become unsupported.
4 – Windows Enterprise is the only edition where customers can fix on a specific release (known as a Long Term Servicing Branch).
5 – Windows Enterprise without Software Assurance (SA) will NOT BE UPDATED. The update facility (Current Branch or Current Branch for Business) is a Software Assurance benefit for Enterprise edition, not part of the Windows licence. So Windows will only be kept up to date for Enterprise edition customers if they maintain their SA annuity.
6 – Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 devices can be upgraded at no cost for 1 year after the release of Windows 10. Windows Enterprise is not eligible for this free upgrade.
7 – The upgrade licence is tied to the specific device and is not transferable. For example if you bought Windows 8 retail, that can be transferred to another pc but the Windows 10 upgrade cannot be transferred. Within the first year, you would need to transfer the Windows 8 licence to the new machine and then kick off the free upgrade again. After the first year, if the new machine didn’t come with an OEM Window 10 then you would need to buy Windows 10 in order to install it on that device.
8- There will be downgrade rights so if you buy a device with Windows 10 you will be able to deploy Windows 8 or 7 in its place. This varies according to the channel you purchase through.
9- We’d love to get some more questions so please contact us if you have any that you’d like us to answer.