Microsoft is simplifying the licensing for its Windows 10 Enterprise software in the hopes it will entice businesses to move to the operating system with a low-cost subscription model.
Renamed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3, Microsoft cloud solution providers (CSPs) will be able to sell the software at subscription rates for US$7 (A$9.20) per seat and month, starting in spring this year.
Subscribers to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 will get the operating system as part of a managed service offering, Microsoft said.
Australian pricing for the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 subscriptions is yet to be confirmed.
Until now, Windows 10 Enterprise has only been available through Microsoft's enterprise volume licensing programs such as Software Assurance, which are complex and expensive and require a minimum number of seats.
Windows 10 Enterprise edition offers business-oriented features such as Device Guard to prevent computers from running anything but trusted applications, and Credentials Guard to protect against theft of user login details.
CSPs will also be able to offer Microsoft Surface devices as a managed service to businesses. Microsoft did not say how much Surface device subscriptions would cost, nor if these would be available in Australia.
Microsoft Australia has been contacted for detail.
Windows Server 2016 almost done and dusted
Microsoft also today announced its forthcoming Windows Server 2016 operating system would become generally available in September.
The fifth and last technical preview of Windows Server 2016 was released today. Microsoft said the operating system is now feature complete.
Windows Server will come in three editions: Datacentre, Standard and Essentials. The first two can be installed with and without a graphical user interface, and also as a lightweight Nano Server.
The headless and remotely managed Nano Server is aimed at those running cloud-native applications based on containers and Microsoft.
Microsoft will continue to provide its five years of mainstream support and further five years of extended support for the three Windows Server 2016 editions.
Nano Server will get feature updates twice or three times a year. Users will have to opt in to the more active Current Branch for Business (CBB) servicing model, similar to that for Windows 10.
While Nano Server won't update automatically, Microsoft said customers can't be more than two CBB releases behind the current one.
Users who install WIndows Server with the Desktop Experience GUI or Server Core will instead be put onto the Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB), which will be updated less frequently with new features.