Way back when Windows 7 was first announced, I got into a wee bit of trouble for criticising Microsoft’s bundling of the differentiating features of the new desktop OS into just the Enterprise edition. Why? That was because only those who licensed the Pro edition via Volume Licensing with Software Assurance would be entitled to the Enterprise edition. If you couldn’t buy all the cool features, then why would a business consider jumping from Windows XP to Windows 7? Sure, there were lots of good stuff in Windows 7 Pro, but all the cool business features were in the Enterprise edition.
Hmm, turns out that lots of businesses don’t actually buy SA. Large enterprises get SA with their Enterprise Agreements. Larger businesses with Select or Select Plus only get SA at extra cost – they choose this program to avoid annuity programs. In the SME world, those with OVS rather than pure Open do get SA. That leaves lots of businesses without SA, and without the benefits of the Enterprise edition that make an upgrade so appealing. And they just were not able to pay for the Enterprise edition because it was only available as an VL+SA benefit.
Well it seems that some backtracking is occurring. Mary Jo Foley reported overnight that Microsoft is to release the Enterprise edition of Windows 8.1 (and therefore lower editions via downgrade rights) as a standalone product via Select, Select Plus and Open – the two programs without SA. Going forward you will be able to buy the Enterprise + SA option through any VL program.
I think that’s a good news story to get March kicked off!