Microsoft is in the process of moving all of its major platforms to a subscription based model. Office has already made the jump with Office 365 and the next major platform to make this move will be the company's flagship software, Windows. Windows as a Service, or WaaS, has been on the development roadmap for some time but we are starting to see more and more of this project unfold and with a new job posting, we can understand a tiny bit more about the OS.
Over on Microsoft's careers website, a new job opening for a Senior Software Development Engineer - Membership Offers & Engagement provides a few tidbits about where the WaaS project stands. According to the posting:
We are a team focused on developing services that will power Microsoft's ability to offer Windows as a Service. You will help will build the software platform that allow 1st and 3rd party service providers to onboard their services on to the Microsoft's new consumer membership program. You will prototype and develop services that connect partners with consumers to offer an integrated Microsoft membership experience. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with multiple teams within Microsoft to strive toward the common goal of delighting our customers through the membership service.
The posting speaks for itself but there are some key takeaways. One is that Microsoft is in full development of the platform, while we have no indication of when it will ship, the company is actively building out the OS. Further, the company plans to work with third party services providers to bring their services to the new OS. This isn't a huge surprise but out of the box experiences will be interesting, and here is why.
Traditionally, you buy a PC and that's how you get your hands on Windows. With the new model, imagine a world where Dell and HP can offer competing WaaS models as you can bet that these vendors likely want in on this action because if Microsoft keeps WaaS close to the chest, then OEMs will likely struggle over time as tradition hardware, slowly fades away. So, it will be key for these vendors to find ways to create their own value propositions with WaaS which will be done by onboarding their services to WaaS (the individual hired for the above job posting will take on this role of creating the onboarding experience).
With their unique attributes, this is how Dell, HP and others will differentiate themselves from other service providers and by having full control over the experience, it gives these OEMs quite a bit of flexibility.
We will be curious to see how long it takes Microsoft to fully develop and then deploy its WaaS strategy. There will also have to be quite a bit of consumer education with the process as well and typically this does not come cheap, as it will be a departure from the company's traditional business model that served the company well for several decades.