Microsoft announces $7 a seat per month Windows 10 CSP pricing

Microsoft's Surface tablet

Windows 10 pricing has been announced — at least for those that want a third-party to do most of the management. At today's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, Yusuf Mehdi announced that Microsoft Cloud Service Providers would begin offering a manage service option running at $7 a seat per month starting this fall.

Simplified licensing and integrated security were just some of the features that Mehdi highlighted in an item announcing the news shortly before the keynotes began

Microsoft's Surface as a Service program (which will cause a bit of confusion if shortened to SaaS) will allow cloud solution providers (who are also Surface Authorized Distributors) to deliver Surface devices through a managed service offering to all of resellers and customers, alongside managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and relevant ISV software.

Mehdi said the new program is ideal for businesses that do not have dedicated IT resources or have limited IT staff, and want their licensing and IT needs managed by an outsourcing partner.

The new "Surface as a Service" program is meant to offer a different way of bringing the device into the enterprise, beyond these traditional reseller programs.

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The new plan won't affect all businesses of course, as Windows 10 Enterprise will continue to be available through Microsoft's regular licensing programs. IBM will use Surface to create custom data analytics packages for the financial services and consumer goods sectors-a deal that sounds very similar to Apple's IBM partnership. "Booz Allen Hamilton will develop scalable and more secure solutions for governments, the public sector and healthcare".

Microsoft is also expanding Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program with the addition of CDW, Insight, SHI and Zones, officials announced today. The company says this will allow customers to benefit from access to the latest hardware as well as faster device refresh cycles. As the product has grown more successful and better defined, Microsoft has expanded its sales channels to include a wider range of retailers, business suppliers, and earlier this year, the "Surface Membership Plan" rent-to-own offering.

While some smaller businesses in industries with strict regulatory requirements need these kinds of enhanced security features, companies of that size often don't have an information technology department to manage the software.