One of the fundamentals of MS licensing has been changed. It’s always been the case that:
“the only way to get Windows Enterprise is to buy Pro + SA”
Well not anymore!
As of March 2014, there is a standalone Windows 8.1 Enterprise SKU available via Volume Licensing.
This means organizations who can’t/won’t enter into an agreement with Software Assurance can now benefit from things such as:
- Direct Access
- Windows To Go
Other SA benefits are not effected so things such as:
- New Version Rights
etc. are still only available with SA.
What else has changed?
It is now ONLY possible to attached SA to the Enterprise Upgrade SKU.
This takes away one relatively common practise. Organizations would often buy machines with Windows Pro OEM and then attach Windows SA within 90 days. This is no longer possible as SA can be attached only to Enterprise – and that won’t come pre-loaded on machines.
If you bought the OEM devices before July 1st 2014, you still have the 90 days to purchase SA. Once that date passes, it will no longer be possible.