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July 31, 2018

Microsoft will take charge of your Windows 10 device in a new monthly lease

by John_A

Microsoft is supposedly gearing up to launch a subscription service for Windows 10 that will see customers paying a monthly fee for leasing the entire PC, not just the operating system. Currently dubbed as Microsoft Managed Desktop, the company would do just that: Manage the device on an operating system level, cutting you out of the update process.

The idea stems from the corporate environment. Microsoft already provides Windows 10 as a per-user service, but feature updates and patches can be a nightmare for IT given they can cause major issues. This brings an “unpredictability” element to the corporate environment, costing time and money.

But if Microsoft simply leased the entire device, all feature updates and patches are tested and confirmed stable for that specific hardware set, removing the unpredictability. That’s not the case right now given the vast number of PCs with different hardware components and Windows 10 trying to support every configuration without fail.

Microsoft’s partners already provide something similar to Microsoft Managed Desktop under its Modern Workplace as a Service banner. For instance, CompNow provides a complete package consisting of a device of your choice, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security, Managed IT services and helpdesk and a flexible warranty for one monthly payment.

HP provides a Device as a Service package too although it doesn’t fall under the Modern Desktop banner. For a monthly fee per seat, corporations can choose a specific device and receive technical support, rapid repair or replace, proactive management capabilities, analytics, lifecycle management on a global scale, and more. VMware and Citrix do something similar.

That said, Microsoft Managed Desktop isn’t exactly anything new, but if sources are correct, Microsoft is gearing up to provide its own hardware-based service. Right now, the company serves up a software bundle consisting of Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security for a monthly fee.

Microsoft already leases hardware too. Introduced in July 2016, Surface as a Service provides Surface devices for a monthly fee through the company’s Cloud Solution Providers. Even on a mainstream level, Microsoft offers a Surface Plus program so anyone can get a Surface device for a monthly payment. There’s a version of this plan for businesses, too.

Adding to Microsoft’s arsenal is Windows Autopilot, a service for deploying Windows 10 devices with relatively no IT involvement. According to Microsoft, Windows Autopilot provides setup and pre-configuration tools so that users can get started on their own. Even more, there is no need to re-image Windows 10 if the device is handed to another user.

With all that in place, Microsoft appears ready to provide the supposed Microsoft Managed Desktop service. When and how it will be offered is unknown for now: Will Microsoft lease these devices directly to customers, or will hardware partners provide these devices with added features? A Microsoft spokesperson wouldn’t comment.

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