Microsoft has been taking great strides to package its services to make them valuable but affordable. As we've seen with services like, OneDrive, and others, the value is in how much you get for a nominal subscription. This approach is not just unique to those areas, but is being used as a framework for all products across the company's entire line of applications and services.
Case in point: Microsoft is set to announce a huge packaging effort for its Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS). ECS launched in December, but Microsoft remained quiet on the pricing details. ECS is the combination of Office 365 E3, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and a per-user license of Windows. For those companies part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA), this is a huge improvement, not only because a Windows per user license (instead of per device) is included, but the price for the ECS is a phenomenal savings.
Organizations already part of an EA with Windows, Office, and the CAL Suite, can add ECS for an estimated $7 to $12 per month. The pricing will differ based on the level of EA agreement that is already in place. Customers without an EA, can still take advantage of the deal just by purchasing a standalone Enterprise Cloud User Subscription License (USL), but it will cost a bit more.
So, what does this look like?
Customers that purchase ECS can install Windows Enterprise Edition on any Pro device or any Windows tablet with a screen size of 10.1 inches or less. To manage the Windows devices customers will have access to VDI, Windows To Go, MDOP (now included), and Office 365 with EMS through Microsoft Intune. Customers will have access to Enterprise File Sync with OneDrive for Business and Azure Active Directory.
The pricing for ECS actually hit the books in December but Microsoft has yet to make a concerted effort to promote it. I was told this was because of timing. With the Windows 10 event planned for January, the company wanted to make sure ECS news didn't get lost in the shuffle.
Speaking of Windows 10, the ECS pricing promotions are timely. Over on the SuperSite, I recently detailed how Windows 10 Upgrades might work for Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers once the new OS is released. That article was a set of notes I cobbled together during a recent chat with a Microsoft representative. Those notes produced a clear picture for consumer computers, but business upgrades remained sketchy. ECS makes the picture a bit clearer. Microsoft is intent on delivering packaged services around Windows 10, especially for businesses, and so it seems evident that ECS is the basis for providing that.
More information about ECS can be found on Microsoft's Volume Licensing site.