Microsoft will sell Windows Enterprise Edition stand alone SKU March 1st

If you are a small business, you will soon be able to get a version of Windows that has previously been available mostly for larger companies. Today, Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows Enterprise Edition will be sold as a stand alone product for anyone to purchase starting on March 1st.

Previously, access to the Enterprise SKU was only possible for small businesses if they signed up to use Windows Intune, or for middle and large companies via a volume license deal with a Software Assurance subscription. However, it appears that Microsoft has received requests from many customers to gain access to the Enterprise version without having to sign up for any kind of service.

According to a statement sent to ZDNet by a Microsoft spokesperson: "Windows Enterprise will be available as a standalone upgrade SKU in the Open and Select/Select Plus programs beginning March 1, 2014." This change does not affect customers who are renewing their previous Software Assurance licences.

As you can see from the chart above, the differences between the Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise version are mostly to add some security and mobility features, including Windows To Go, which allows users to take an image of their Windows 8 desktop and put in on a Flash drive so they can plug in and boot it up to use on any Windows PC. Microsoft has a 90 day trial version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise available for anyone to download and access.

Source: ZDNet | Image via Microsoft

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It's Actually absurd that the enterprise sku requires a seperate ISO. The bits for the enterprise features do not exist in the standard combo pro/non pro ISO. There needs to be a discounted "anytime upgrade" version in the retail channel that only can be applied to 8.1 pro installs to keep the sku cost as low as possible.

Two missing lines here.

Disable metro interface - Tick.
Original Start menu - Tick.

Then happy days. Will give it proper consideration for desktop users in the office.

Interesting, why not just eliminate the unique features and make them available to Pro? Considering that Windows 7 Ultimate was basically a retail version of Windows 7 Enterprise and no such thing exist in the Windows 8 lineup, it was the most logical thing to do.

Add Features allows you add features to Windows 8 Pro, meaning you can upgrade a previously purchased product. Case in point: Windows 8 Pro Pack, Windows Anytime Upgrade under Windows 7.

Lirodon said,
Then they would run afoul of Sarbanes-Oxley. You can't "upgrade" a previously purchased product.

Only if you're Apple and want an excuse to charge for a mandatory upgrade.

I didn't say anything about making them free, I said make them available to Windows 8 Pro through Add Features, which requires that you pay for whatever you add through it. Anytime Upgrade and the Pro Pack are not free.