The countdown to Windows 8 is on. In just over two months the new flagship operating system from Microsoft will be available to the general public. For businesses looking to upgrade, though, there is a decision to be made between just getting Windows 8 itself, and subscribing to Windows InTune instead.
Businesses that have already moved to Windows 7 may feel little incentive to move to Windows 8 already, but those still on Windows XP should seriously consider a switch to Windows 8. The end of life for Microsoft support of Windows XP is quickly approaching, and Microsoft is sweetening the deal by making the Windows 8 upgrade a mere £14.99 if you buy a Windows 7 PC before January 31, 2013.
Theres more than one way to get Windows 8, though. Rather than purchasing the operating system itself, a business can subscribe to Windows InTune - which includes a perpetual licence for the most current version of Windows as well.
A Windows InTune subscription costs $11 per user per month. That equates to $132 per year - at least six times the cost of just buying the Windows 8 upgrade. Assuming a two to three year lifespan for the OS, Windows InTune is significantly more costly than just getting Windows 8. But, with Windows InTune you get more than just the Windows operating system.
With Windows 8 you get, well, you get Windows 8. With Windows InTune, you get a licence for whatever the current version of Windows is, along with a variety of other IT administrative tools like Active Directory integration, mobile device management, and third-party software deployment.
Sure, you can deploy your own Microsoft server infrastructure, and maintain your own Windows network. But, all of that costs money as well, in addition to paying the IT admin or other IT personnel to manage and maintain it. With Windows InTune, you essentially get the IT infrastructure and IT department thrown in for your $11 per user per month.
The value will vary depending on the size of your company or the number of users. Consider, though, that the more users you have, the more expensive it is to maintain your own infrastructure and to upgrade each of the PCs to the latest version of Windows as well.
For small businesses still using Windows XP, its time to make a move. Windows 8 is a bargain at its price, but for many businesses Windows InTune may be the better deal overall.