Microsoft follows Office 365 licensing model with new 'Secure Productive Enterprise' Windows 10 bundles

Microsoft is renaming Windows 10 Enterprise and creating new bundles that combine Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365, and its Enterprise Mobility Suite technologies.

There's another Microsoft bundle coming, in addition to the Dynamics 365 offering the company announced earlier this week.

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The "Secure Productive Enterprise" bundle, which Microsoft announced on July 7, combines Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365, and its newly-renamed Enterprise Mobility + Security suite. (The Enterprise Mobility + Security suite was formerly known as the Enterprise Mobility Suite.)

Microsoft is going down the naming route it established with Office 365 and will make available Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and Secure Productive Enterprise E5 options.

The E3 option will feature Office 365 E3, Enterprise Mobility + Security E3, and Windows 10 Enterprise E3. The E5 option will include Office 365 E5, Enterprise Mobility + Security E5, and Windows 10 Enterprise E5.

Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is simply the new name for Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft officials say. Windows 10 Enterprise E5 is a new Windows 10 Enterprise version that will include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a new Microsoft service for detecting and responding to attacks.

These two versions of Windows 10 should be out as of August 2, based on previous Microsoft guidance, but Thursday's blog post says "later this summer" for Windows 10 Enterprise E5 availability.

The current EMS service is now called Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 and has no changes for existing EMS customers, Microsoft officials say. The new Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 with expanded capabilities (unspecified as of today) is coming in Q4 2016, according to Microsoft.

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The E5 Secure Productive Enterprise bundle will be available later this calendar year, Thursday's blog post says. It will be the highest-end Windows 10 version -- the same way that Office 365 E5 is the highest end, most feature-rich (and expensive) Office 365 version. (I think the E3 Secure Productive Enterprise bundle will be out "later this summer", but I'm double checking.)

It's interesting to note Microsoft doesn't use the word "cloud" in the name of the new Secure Productive Enterprise bundle (even though the blog post announcing the product comes from Julia White, a general manager on the Microsoft Cloud Platform team).

A lot of this announcement of Secure Productive Enterprise is "about aligning the brands under one overarching subscription -- which is itself primarily a rebrand of the Enterprise Cloud Suite," says Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller.

I can't help but wonder if that file in recent Windows 10 preview builds, which pointed to some kind of Windows 10 subscription, as noted last week by my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott, is related to these new bundles.

Microsoft has not gone public yet with pricing for the coming Secure Productive Enterprise bundles.

Update: I had asked Microsoft whether the new Secure Productive Enterprise could be considered Windows 10 as a subscription -- which is something many feared the company would be introduced back when there were rumors of a "Windows 365". Microsoft officials say no, and the new bundles are just the continuation of what Microsoft introduced when it added Software Assurance per-user pricing/licensing for Windows in 2014.

Here's the company's full response, delivered via a company spokesperson:

"Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), and now Secure Productive Enterprise, are licensed per user in a subscription model. This has been true since the launch of Windows SA per User and ECS in December of 2014, and is not changing with this new brand.

"Microsoft continues to offer per-device licensing for Windows that includes a perpetual upgrade license with Software Assurance attached, and there are no changes to these per-device offers outside of renaming as Windows 10 Enterprise E3."

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