Businesses that missed out on Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer now have a second chance, provided they subscribe to Windows via the software giant's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner program.
Microsoft announced the impending availability of the Windows 10 operating system as a subscription service during the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto on July 12. In September, the companies and its partners began offering Windows 10 Enterprise E3 licenses for $7 per user per month.
Now, as an added perk, Microsoft is enabling those customers to upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs at no extra cost. The offer extends to users with Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 subscriptions as well as Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5 plans.
Secure Productive Enterprise is a licensing option that bundles Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 and the company's mobile device and application management suite, Enterprise Mobility + Security.
Once older Windows machines are upgraded to Window 10, the OS is theirs to keep, said Nic Fillingham, small business product manager at Microsoft Windows Marketing.
"The Windows 10 upgrade licenses issued as part of this process are perpetual and associated with the device. This means the license will not expire or be revoked if the customer chooses to end their Windows cloud subscription in the CSP program," he wrote in a Jan. 19 blog post.
The option to install Windows 10 will appear in the Office 365 Admin Center within 48 hours, added Fillingham.
The offer may help Microsoft win over users who are stubbornly clinging to Windows 7. According to the latest analysis of the desktop OS scene from Net Applications, Windows 7 remains the most popular OS with a 48 percent share of the market. Windows 10 trails with just over 24 percent and Windows XP, which has gone unsupported by Microsoft since April 2014, is in third place with 9 percent.
In July, a survey of 900 IT professionals in the Spiceworks community revealed that 38 percent of businesses had adopted Windows 10 within a year of its 2015 launch. Among those who hadn't yet deployed Windows 10, 11 percent said they expected to make the switch by July 2017 and another 31 percent said they had plans to adopt Windows 10 in the next one to three years. However, 42 percent said they had no plans to add the OS to their device fleets.
At last count, there are more than 400 million corporate and consumer devices running Windows 10, a figure Microsoft published in September and reiterated in a Nov. 30 earnings conference call.
During the call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claimed a healthy uptick in business buyers, claiming that his company's "focus on security has helped drive a 3x increase in Windows 10 enterprise deployments in the last six months, including the U.S. Department of Defense as well as Accenture."