Be wary of upgrading to Windows 10 as a Service, lawyers warn businesses

Microsoft's announcement of a new delivery method for its Windows 10 operating system is, so far, clear as mud when it comes to licensing for enterprise customers. Businesses are advised to proceed with caution.

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Luke Scanlon, technology lawyer at Pinsent Masons, adds: “The key for businesses is to think about computing over the long term and not the short term. How to run a large organisation effectively using new technologies is completely changing. They don’t want to get locked into the wrong environment. It really has to be a model that is going to be useful for them in five years’ time.”

Secondly, enterprises need to think about the indirect costs of upgrading. Hotchin says that one of the biggest costs of a large software upgrade is the cost of staff retraining. This means that businesses need to think about their staff training budgets and resources before upgrading.

Luke Scanlon, technology lawyer at Pinsent Masons, agrees that while it is attractive to move from a “need-to-update” version of Windows to an “always-updated” version, businesses also need to think about the exit terms of the software licences.

“[Businesses] can’t just cancel a subscription. They have to think about transition and exits of licenses,” he says.

Governance and security are also increasingly important issues to consider.

“The more you move to subscription and cloud-based models, the more you have to think about data privacy, security and the control,” Scanlon says.

Business model for the future

Although details of the business model for Windows 10 is murky for enterprises, Hotchin and Scanlon agree that Microsoft’s announcements are a clear indication of a change in direction for the computing giant.

“This is Microsoft building a business model for the future,” says Scanlon. “As we all know, the way we are working is moving away from desktops to a mobile world. In the B2B PC world, Microsoft isn’t really competing with anybody else except itself. That worked well for them [in that market] but that doesn’t work so well for the mobile world.

“Microsoft sees the business model as dying and not fit for the mobile world.”

Hotchin adds: “[With the shift to cloud] people are going to buy IT differently. I do believe there’s going to be a shift in where the power lies because of that shift.”

“If you’re going to have those very complex terms, other options are going to become available. All the big players are going to have to sit up and listen.”

Image credit: Microsoft

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