Microsoft is in the process of rejigging the business side of Windows, and is set to make Windows Enterprise available as a standalone product as of tomorrow.
Previously, Windows Enterprise has only been available to companies who are volume licensees with Software Assurance (SA). SA is the scheme Microsoft flogs to volume customers that secures them guaranteed upgrades to new versions of software as they emerge for a set period of time.
With this change, there will be a standalone Windows Enterprise SKU that anyone can purchase.
Font of Microsoft knowledge Mary Jo Foley picked up this one, and winkled the official explanation out of a Redmond spokesperson, who said: “We have heard from customers of all sizes who could benefit from being able to use Windows Enterprise and we have responded to that feedback with the availability of Windows Enterprise as a standalone upgrade option.”
“Additionally some customers per internal policy are unable to enter annuity agreements. This change expands the availability of the Enterprise edition to now include these customers.”
The new Windows Enterprise product will be available from 1 March.
Microsoft clarified that this is just a technical change to allow for any interested party to pick up Windows Enterprise, although Redmond is ceasing the provision of Software Assurance with Windows Pro. Those renewing existing SA won’t be affected, and those who previously bought Windows Pro Upgrade with SA will be able to snag the Windows Enterprise Upgrade with SA on the same terms, and at the same price.
This move is apparently part of a bigger sweep of changes coming to Redmond’s volume licensing structure, with a new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) incoming to replace the various different volume licensing schemes currently in place.