On July 1st, Microsoft suspended a benefit that many of its customers had grown attached to. Specifically, attaching Software Assurance (SA) only skus to new systems carrying their own OEM OS. It shouldn’t be a secret to anyone that Microsoft doesn’t want you to image with OEM keys. OEM’s must have received the same memo. They made their OEM OS product keys increasingly more difficult to locate—some going as far as to hide them deep within the system BIOS menu.
That was the beauty of the SA-only upgrade for OEM systems. Re-imaging rights were available, for a considerable discount to purchasing the Pro OS upgrade license. It proved to be a nightmare for Microsoft, however, to track these SA keys. At renewal time, it was even harder for LSP’s to make sense of it all. Some customers didn’t really care about running Windows Enterprise—they simply wanted to image.
On July 1st, Microsoft officially suspended the rights to add SA-only to new OEM OS purchases. Now customers must buy the OS upgrade license outright. Sounds expensive, but is it really? Before releasing the standalone Windows Enterprise, the cost of SA-only in the MOB program was $110. Thanks to the Get 2 Modern program, the cost of the 8.1 upgrade license in MOB is now $150. Microsoft was smart to announce this at the same time as the Windows Enterprise release.
So which license is right for you?
- Simply need to image? Pro
- Simply need bit locker? Enterprise
- Virtualizing? Enterprise/SA
There is now a much more definitive way to gain quick and easy access to imaging—and it’s not as expensive as you think.