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  1. Microsoft will be making some pricing and naming changes as of its October 2018 price list that will affect some Windows 10 and Office 2019 customers. Here's what's in store. Microsoft has price increases in store for some of its Office and Windows customers as of October 1, 2018. In a July 25 blog post, Microsoft officials acknowledged the coming increases. Office 2019, the next on-premises version of Office clients and servers which Microsoft is currently testing ahead of its launch later this year, will see increases of 10 percent over current on-premises pricing. This price increase is for commercial (business) customers and will affect Office client, Enterprise Client Access License (CAL), Core CAL and server products, officials said. Microsoft also is rejiggering how it refers to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and related pricing. As of October, Microsoft will be using the E3 name for the per-user version (not the per-device one). Windows 10 Enterprise E3 per User will be rechristened "Windows 10 Enterprise E3." And the current Windows 10 Enterprise E3 per Device will be renamed "Windows 10 Enterprise." According to Microsoft's blog post, the price of Windows 10 Enterprise will be raised to match the price of Windows 10 Enterprise E3. Windows 10 Enterprise E3 costs $84 per user per year. Microsoft also is discontinuing Windows 10 Enterprise E5 per device as of October 1, 2018. Only the per user version will remain, which costs $14 per user per month, or $168 per user per year. Based on Microsoft's blog post, I don't think the naming of Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3 or E5 will be impacted. I've asked if there will be any price increases; no word back yet. Update: A company spokesperson said the company had no comment on whether this means price increases for Microsoft 365. Microsoft originally introduced Windows 10 Enterprise subscription plans (E3 and E5) at its worldwide partner conference in 2016. Microsoft's plan then was to use these subscription bundles to try to win over more small-and-midsize (SMB) customers. Microsoft officials said in today's blog post that the changes are meant to create more consistency and transparency across purchasing channels. Other changes that will be on the October price list: Establishment of a single, consistent starting price across all programs aligned to web direct for online services (OLS) Removal of the programmatic volume discounts (Level A and Open Level C) in Enterprise Agreement (EA)/EA Subscription, MPSA, Select/ Select Plus, and Open programs (Open, Open Value, Open Value Subscription) Alignment of government pricing for on-premises and online services to the lowest commercial price in EA/EAS, MPSA, Select Plus, and Open Programs Delivery of a newly designed Customer Price Sheet that better outlines how a customer's price was derived (direct EA/EAS only) Microsoft told its reseller partners at its recent Inspire partner conference that it was moving toward the goal of providing "one consistent set of offers, supported by a Modern Commerce platform" in this coming fiscal year. (New buzzword of the year nomination by me: Modern!) By updating discounting policies meant to sell software at scale, Microsoft officials said they will no longer be "incentivizing them (customers) to standardize unnecessarily on software." Source: Microsoft acknowledges price increases coming for Office 2019 and Windows 10 Enterprise users (ZDNet - Mary Jo Foley)
  2. The move came with the release last week of the Windows 10 April 2018 feature upgrade. What Redmond giveth, Redmond taketh away. Microsoft ended a six-month support extension for enterprise users of Windows 10 with the feature upgrade released last week. All editions of Windows 10 1803, aka the "April 2018 Update," will be provided security patches and other bug fixes until November 2019, or for the standard 18 months. That will be in contrast to the four previous feature upgrades, designated as 1511, 1607, 1703 and 1709 in Microsoft's yymm format. Customers who licensed Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education received 24 months of support for those versions. The elimination of the additional six months, which Microsoft had taken to calling "supplemental servicing," was quietly revealed in online documentation, including the Windows 10 lifecycle fact sheet. There, version 1803 was not flagged as one of those receiving the added support. "Windows 10 version 1511, 1607, 1703 and 1709 will continue to receive monthly servicing updates at no-cost for a period of 6 months past the end of service dates," Microsoft stated in the fact sheet, referring to the standard 18-month support timetable. Microsoft initiated supplemental servicing in November 2017, when it announced that Windows 10 version 1511, a November 2015 feature upgrade originally slated to drop off the support list on Oct. 10, 2017, would instead receive some security fixes until April 10, 2018. At the time, Microsoft said it would only add support to 1511. Three months later, however, the company added 1607, 1703 and 1709 to the supplementary servicing list. As with 1511, Microsoft restricted the extra support to Enterprise and Education licenses and provided only those security patches rated "critical" and "important" to those customers. Although industry analysts reported that their corporate clients want, even need, more than 18 months between feature upgrades - a consensus was building that a 24-month interval would be acceptable - Microsoft eliminated supplemental servicing. Or it killed the free extended support. In February, Microsoft said that it would offer "paid supplemental servicing" starting in April, when organizations running Windows 10 Enterprise 1607 (as well as Education 1607) would see patches dry up. "Volume License customers who need more than the additional six months of no-cost servicing beyond April 10, 2018 can alternatively secure 12 months of additional servicing (starting from April 10, 2018) with paid supplemental servicing," wrote John Wilcox, principal program manager, in a post to a company blog. Microsoft has not disclosed the cost of Windows 10 paid supplemental servicing, nor whether it will be offered to versions other than 1607 when their support, supplemental or otherwise, expires. (The next retirement date on Windows 10's calendar is October 9, when 1703 is slated to exhaust the additional six months of updates.) However, it's unlikely that Microsoft would create a temporary for-fee program for only one version of Windows 10; the company hasn't made a practice of leaving money on the table. Instead, expect it to offer the same 12-month support extension to Enterprise and Education customers for all feature upgrades, thus providing a total of 30 months of free and paid support for each. Customers who need more information about paid supplemental servicing, including costs, should contact their designated account team, Microsoft said. Source
  3. ‘Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode,’ a locked-down version of Windows 10 S, will be available from Microsoft in April or May 2018. Microsoft Microsoft plans to offer customers a new restricted operating system, "Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode," in April or May 2018, according to a marketing director who recently walked IT professionals and developers through the product. Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode will be a locked-down operating system sibling to Windows 10 S, which Microsoft announced in May. But while the original 10 S has been tossed at the education market target, Enterprise in S Mode will, not surprisingly, be thrown at businesses. In a 40-minute session at Ignite, the technology conference Microsoft hosted earlier this month in Orlando, Fla., Augusto Valdez, a director of product marketing in the Windows group, laid out Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode. "By the spring of 2018, around April or May of 2018, we're going to have a Windows 10 Enterprise version in that mode as well, that will take advantage of the enterprise capabilities that make sense into the S environment itself," said Valdez. "It's about having the best of Windows 10 S and the best of Windows 10 Enterprise in just one subscription package." The subscription Valdez referred to was the also-just-announced Microsoft 365 F1 (M365 F1), a $10-per-month per user plan designed to get companies paying Redmond to equip "first-line" workers with personal computing tools. Firstline workers, in Microsoft's view, are the employees on the front lines of their organizations, those behind counters or in the field or on factory floors. Like Windows 10 S, only more The distinguishing feature of Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode is - like its predecessor, Windows 10 S - this: only apps from the just-renamed Microsoft Store can be installed under the OS and will run on it. Because users will be blocked from installing and running traditional Win32 applications, Microsoft has argued, the device will be more secure and thus less likely to fall under the sway of hackers. The company also touted other benefits, all os which surfaced from the apps-only limitation, including faster device boot times, longer device battery lifespans, and perhaps most importantly to the bottom line, simpler management for IT. It's no surprise that Microsoft spun off Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode from 10 S. When the later debuted months ago, analysts agreed that commercial customers would be just as interested in a hampered operating system as educators. Only on 10 S devices Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode is not a SKU (stock-keeping unit) that customers can order from Microsoft or a reseller, or buy at retail, before slapping it on a device. Although an existing PC running Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education or Windows 10 Enterprise can be converted to one that runs Windows 10 S, Microsoft's emphasis for Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode will be on systems sold by OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that are powered by the factory-installed Windows 10 S. Valdez reminded his Ignite audience that Windows 10 S is an OEM product, meaning it is not sold or licensed to end users or customers, but only to computer makers. (On an already-in-place PC that has had Windows 10 S installed, the underlying license is actually the predecessor to 10 S, such as Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise.) Microsoft and its OEM partners have touted Windows 10 S, even in its current form, as suitable for businesses, notably the first-line workers in the crosshairs of Microsoft 365 F1. During Ignite, several OEMs, including HP and Lenovo, trotted out new notebooks, some starting as low as $275, that came with Windows 10 S. Valdez pitched such devices as a boon to corporate customers. "Some of the devices with Windows 10 S are going to have a better total cost of ownership because of the characteristics of the device itself and the price point that we are able to achieve now with Windows 10 S running on a Windows device," Valdez said. Enter Microsoft 365 F1 If Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode has to start with Windows 10 S, and it's not sold as a license to customers, how do businesses acquire it? Valdez put it plainly. "If you have a Windows 10 S device, and you subscribe to Microsoft 365 F1, that Windows 10 S device will automatically get upgraded, if you will, into Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode," he said. M365 F1 consists of three parts: Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), a collection of device- and user-management services and tools. The included Windows 10 license, said Valdez, is identical to that provided by Windows 10 Enterprise E3, a different subscription deal that launched last year and runs $7 per user per month. "The Windows 10 component of Microsoft 365 F1 is Windows 10 Enterprise," Valdez said at one point in the session. He later specified that it was the same as the E3 plan of Windows 10 Enterprise. While M365 F1 gives customers the top-tier Windows 10 Enterprise, it also morphs a Windows 10 S PC, automatically changing the operating system to the more capable Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode. Simply activating the subscription on a device does the trick, Valdez said. And like Windows 10 S, which can be swapped out for Windows 10 Pro -- for a fee -- Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode can mutate into the full Windows 10 Enterprise. If the M365 F1 subscription is still active, the latter change won't cost a dime. Microsoft A subscription to Microsoft 365 F1 will spring Windows 10 S out of its education holding cell and turn it into Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode, which is a locked-down version of the corporate Windows 10 Enterprise. What's next? Although Microsoft hasn't said anything beyond the M365 F1 link to Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode, it seems obvious that more could be done along similar lines. Other subscription plans, for instance, could be equipped with the capability to change Windows 10 S into Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode, which would also give the user rights to upgrade all the way to Windows 10 Enterprise. Microsoft has talked obliquely about Windows 10 S, and the less expensive hardware designed for it, as suitable for some "information workers," its term for most office workers. To fuel such a campaign, Microsoft could simply add upgrade rights for Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode to, say, Microsoft 365 E3, the corporate subscription it's pushed since the summer. That flexibility would let IT managers provision a stay-at-the-office PC with Windows Enterprise and the locally-installed Office 365 applications, but at the same time, and for the same user, create a theoretically-more-secure notebook powered by Windows 10 Enterprise in S Mode. In that scenario, only the latter would leave the multi-layered defenses of the company's network. Source: Enterprises to get locked-down Windows 10 in six months (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
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