Microsoft has attempted to counter the advance of iOS and Android products into the corporate workplace by offering a new license for Windows 8 that allows its use across multiple mobile devices.
Channel magazine CRN Australia has cited a licensing guide distributed to Microsoft resellers, which includes a new “companion license”, introduced to allow users to access their corporate desktops from mobile devices.
The Windows RT companion subscription license (CSL) provides a single license for up to four devices, rather than individual licenses for each companion device, meaning workers who want to bring more than one tablet or smartphone to work are able to do so, for lower cost to the organisation.
For the Windows RT device to be enabled, the user’s work PC needs to be licensed with Microsoft’s Software Assurance.
Current Windows RT devices include tablets from the likes of Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung and Fujitsu, as well as Microsoft’s own ARM-based Surface RT (Surface Pro, the x86 model running full Windows 8 will launch in January); and smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC - to be unveiled locally at an event tomorrow.
Brad Colledge, general manager of licensing solutions at reseller Data#3 said the CSL eliminated some of the challenges around BYOD security and policies.
“We’ve spent a lot of time documenting our mobility strategy, and consult with customers on their mobility strategies fairly regularly, and we’ve found most users have more than one device, so having the option to use the CSL is a solution that wasn’t there before,” he said.
“There was a solution in place - but it was expensive because you had to license each one individually.”
The CSL is an optional add-on to Windows 8. Without the license, users would simply be using the OEM version of the OS bundled with the smartphone. Colledge said the advantage of the CSL is it provides a full Windows 8 experience and the ability to access all its applications.
Devices covered under the CSL, Software Assurance and Windows VDA are also licensed to run Windows To Go - a new feature of Windows 8.
Windows To Go allows users to boot the Windows 8 OS from any PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8 from a compatible USB device.