Windows 10 NOT FREE To Enterprises, Microsoft Confirms

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Microsoft confirms free Windows 10 upgrade is not available for large businesses, and it will be updated differently

Microsoft has confirmed that while consumers will qualify for free upgrades to Windows 10, the wider business community will not be so fortunate.

The clarification comes after the company’s announcement last month that Windows 10 would be a free update to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users who upgrade during the first year.

Enterprising

Win10startMenu1Whilst that offer is still valid to users and indeed small businesses, Microsoft used a blog posting late last week to confirm that the free upgrade will not available to enterprises and corporations running Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise.

The Enterprise version of the Windows OS is provided to software assurance customers.

Redmond confirmed that small businesses and consumers will still qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 10 in the first year of launch, if they run Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

“We believe this will allow hundreds of millions of customers to upgrade to Windows 10 soon after launch, create a broad opportunity for our ecosystem partners to drive innovation, and deliver value to all Windows 10 customers,” said Jim Alkove, director of program management for Microsoft’s enterprise group.

“Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise are not included in the terms of free Windows 10 Upgrade offer we announced last week.”

Update Change

And it seems that Microsoft will also provide Windows 10 updates for large businesses in a different manner, essentially using consumers and small businesses as ‘coal mine canaries’ in order to detect any flaws and bugs in the operating system.

Of course this already happens at the moment, as large corporations tend only to update to the latest release after others have shaken out the bugs and Microsoft has fixed them. Indeed, some hold-out organisations are still using ancient operating systems such as Windows XP, because of its stability and the fact that most of its bugs and kinks have already been ironed out, despite Microsoft officially ending support for that venerable operating system last April.

It is worth remembering that Microsoft had intended to push updates to Windows 10 in two different formats once the software becomes universally available later this year.

The first update option called “opt-in” provides new features through a pre-set schedule for new features, fixes and security updates. The second update option, called “locked-down”, was geared towards mission critical businesses that only needed security updates and support.

But now Microsoft is developing a new long term servicing option under which business clients would receive the latest security updates and enterprise level support, but not the flood of new feature updates, via the Current Branch option.

Business clients selecting the Current Branch will receive feature updates from the consumer versions only after they’ve been tested for compatibility.

“By putting devices on the current branch for Business, enterprises will be able to receive feature updates after their quality and application compatibility has been assessed in the consumer market, while continuing to receive security updates on a regular basis,” wrote Alkove.

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