At its Windows 10 conference last month, Microsoft dropped a bomb. In the twelve months following the marketing of Windows 10 (probably in the fall), its update from Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 will be free.
Especially since Windows 7 SP1, this is an unexpected promotion which we later realized that it excluded companies. In particular, large companies with Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8 / 8.1 Enterprise editions.
In a blog post, Microsoft more explicitly confirms that Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows 8.1 Enterprise will not be affected by the free update to Windows 10 that is valid for one year. The Redmond company also gives other information.
As usual, professionals with a Software Assurance subscription will be able to upgrade Windows under the terms of their contract. Microsoft also returns to the concept of Windows as a Service.
This concept basically means that new features and functionality, as well as security updates and critical fixes will be provided on a " regular basis "But companies will have control over the pace of deployments via update branches.
The Long Term Servicing branch will provide Windows 10 enterprise devices with the latest security and critical updates but not new functionality for the duration of primary and extended support. Customers will be able to use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) for complete control over the distribution of updates internally.
The Current for Business branch will allow devices in the enterprise to receive feature updates after " the evaluation of their quality and their application compatibility on the consumer market "At the same time, devices in this industry will receive security updates regularly. Businesses will have the option of receiving updates automatically via Windows Update or WSUS.
As environments are often heterogeneous in companies, they will be able to combine the two branches and juggle between them.
Microsoft also reiterates that Windows 10 was designed to require the same minimum requirements (minimum hardware requirements) as Windows 7 and Windows 8. However, " some new features may require new hardware requirements, and software or firmware updates from software vendors and device manufacturers. "
For the Redmond company, the Insiders are currently playing a key role in testing the technical preview of Windows 10 and providing feedback.