Microsoft New Pluton Processor: Licensing Implications

In November 2020, Microsoft blogged about its new Pluton processor. In that blog, Microsoft asserted that this will “… bring even more security advancements to future Windows PCs…”

Miro believes this to be true. While the past decade has seen the PC market in a downward trend, when comparing the fourth quarter of 2020, Gartner preliminarily reports that  “Worldwide PC shipments… [had] a 10.7% increase from the fourth quarter of 2019.” That same report stated that “PC shipments…  [had] a 4.8% increase from 2019 and the highest growth in ten years.”

Conceivably, work-from-home compelled by the COVID-19 pandemic led to this surge.

But Microsoft – perhaps because of its recent twin bouts of security-related trouble involving Solar Winds and Exchange – recognizes that security can be foremost in organizations’ priorities. And so working with various partners (AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.), Microsoft has brought this new technology, originally pioneered in Xbox and Azure Sphere, to the PC.

While Miro’s initial investigation has suggested no immediate impact to licensing itself, one might foresee two (2) things:

  1. In order to have Windows 10 and the Microsoft Pluton processor, along with update services, Microsoft may compel the licensing of Windows. This is often the last of the three (3) Enterprise components that would comprise a full Enterprise Agreement. (Without it, the Enterprise Agreement would take on the status of being a “component” agreement.)
  2. Because of the additional charge that Microsoft would impose for this new processor (including R&D, manufacturing, logistics, and other aspects), the price of a PC would likely rise. Couple that with compelled licensing (Number 1 above) and it could be an unforeseen expense to organizations.

If you’re organization would like to know more or would like to speak about it’s Microsoft Licensing situation, contact Miro today.



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