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Microsoft Adds Free Upgrade Perks to Windows 10 CSP Program

Microsoft has rolled out another benefit for organizations participating in its pay-as-you-go Windows 10 program: free upgrades to Windows 10 for older PCs.

"[C]ustomers subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5, as well as Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5, can now upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs and devices to Windows 10 without the need to purchase separate upgrade licenses," the company said in a blog post Thursday.

Microsoft launched the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 service plans last fall after debuting them at the 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference. The plans let organizations buy Windows 10 Enterprise edition subscriptions from Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners in a pay-as-you-go model. Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is priced at $7 per user per month and includes Microsoft Software Assurance benefits, as well as security capabilities via Microsoft Credential Guard and Device Guard. The E5 plan costs $14 per user per month and includes all of the features in the E3 version, in addition to Microsoft's Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection service.

The Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5 subscription plans were also rolled out last year as a replacement to Microsoft's older Enterprise Cloud Suite. These plans bundle Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 with corresponding versions of Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility + Security solution.

Per Microsoft's announcement on Thursday, organizations enrolled in any of these plans will be now able to upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines to Windows 10 without purchasing separate licenses. The company is aiming the offer at businesses that have not been able to purchase newer PCs or missed the Windows 10 free-upgrade window, which officially closed on on July 29, 2016, a full year after Windows 10 first launched.

Qualifying organizations will begin to be able to access the offer within the next 48 hours via their Office 365 Admin center, Microsoft said.

Notably, any Windows 10 upgrade licenses that an organization receives as part of this offer will not be dependent on how long or whether they continue their CSP subscriptions. Instead, Microsoft said, the licenses will be "perpetual and associated with the device. This means the license will not expire or be revoked if the customer chooses to end their Windows cloud subscription in the CSP program."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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