There’s been some discussion recently in relation to the Enterprise edition of Windows 8 that it will be made available only to subscribers to Microsoft’s Software Assurance program. Not so! Subscribers to the Windows Intune program pay a monthly per-seat fee for this service, and what they’re paying for includes a license to Windows Enterprise for each such seat, in addition to the management and configuration tools and services that come along as part of the overall deal. Methods for grabbing the download are addressed in an SMB-oriented TechNet blog post entitled “Windows Intune: How Do My Customers Get Windows 7 Enterprise?”
For $11 per PC per month (up to 25 machines), PCs with some version of Windows Professional already installed can partake of Intune. No bare metal coverage here, sorry. If you want into Intune with a do-it-yourself PC, you’ll have to buy or otherwise acquire a license for Windows Professional or better before you can use what MS calls “the upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise.”
Perhaps it’s a leap of faith, but I’m assuming the deal for Windows 8 will remain more or less the same once the product becomes generally available, so this represents another way for users to get into Windows Enterprise 8 without necessarily getting into a Software Assurance deal with Microsoft.