It is no mystery that Microsoft has been making a big push with its latest OS and emphasizing new enterprise features such as Branch Cache and Direct Access to corporations in order to sell more units. The catch to having access to some of the new Windows 7 enterprise features (such as the two I mentioned) is that Microsoft requires the purchase of Software Assurance (SA) in order to get the Enterprise Edition. The requirement may be one of the contributing factors slowing the adoption of Windows 7 in the enterprise. For whatever reason – the economy or a lack of confidence from customers who previously invested in SA and were less than impressed – we feel that many customers may refrain from purchasing SA this time around and just forgo the newest features of Windows 7. Many customers have also looked at SA as a great way to save on upgrade costs, but there is no guarantee that a new version of Windows will be available during the life of their SA contract. This, in itself, has led us to advise some of our clients to hold off on of making the investment if they don’t need the features SA brings to their organization.
It’s really a shame because the new features being offered within the Enterprise version, which are buried within the SA purchase requirement, could be very useful for many enterprises. Too bad it’s not being offered minus the SA requirement! We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out – will Microsoft remove the restrictions or face a slower adoption rate?
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Scott, we’re seeing many clients with strong interest in Windows 7, and the SA benefits are part of the reason. Agreed, it’d be nice if MSFT broke those out into separate, optional pricing, but that would hurt their sale of SA.