Right now, as Microsoft never tires of telling you if you’re using Windows 7 or 8, Windows 10 is free to upgrade to. It won’t be forever though, as Microsoft has announced a cut-off point at the end of the month, and a pricing plan to match. If you want a boxed copy of Windows 10 after that, you’ll have to pay $US119 for the Home edition or $US199 for the Professional version.

If you’re a business though, there is another way.

Later this year, Microsoft will begin to sell Windows 10 Enterprise E3 – a somewhat confusing name given the massive annual gaming trade show with the same initials, but there we are. It’ll cost $US7 per user per month, or just over a fiver in pounds sterling. The Windows 10 Enterprise E3 pricing means that it would take you 17 months of home use or 28 months of office use before the subscription price eclipsed the cost of just buying the software outright.

The announcement means that Windows 10 joins Azure and Office 365 as Microsoft’s subscription services, providing the company with a potentially solid stream of revenue, though it’s worth noting that – for now at least – this is purely a corporate offering. “This new subscription model is not associated with our current upgrade offering or applicable to the Windows 10 consumer edition,” a Microsoft spokesperson told PC World.

Alongside this announcement, Microsoft also revealed that it is planning a Surface for business subscription model – essentially businesses will be able to lease Microsoft Surface devices alongside their subscriptions. This could potentially be an appealing offer, but at the moment details – including pricing – are pretty much non-existent.

“This new offering enables flexibility of solutions, faster device refresh and ensures customers can have the latest Surface devices that evolve with the best Windows and Office have to offer,” the company explained in a blog post. “We launched this program with ALSO, a leading CSP out of Europe, and look forward to working with other partners to expand this program globally.”



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