How to Quantify the Changing Value of Software Assurance for Windows Client, 2013 Update

25 April 2013 ID:G00248402
Analyst(s): Michael A. Silver, John Girard


We provide guidelines for IT leaders to analyze the benefits of Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows Client to decide whether it's worth the annual fee. The value will vary depending on whether the organization is deploying Windows 7 or Windows 8.


Key Findings

  • Many organizations have great plans for Windows Software Assurance (SA) features, but fail to implement them.
  • Most organizations will need to find value from at least three SA benefits to justify SA financially. Most benefits will be valuable to only a subset of users in an organization.
  • The Multilingual User Interface (MUI) and BitLocker are benefits only available through SA for Windows 7, but in Windows 8 are included in the Professional SKU.
  • Organizations that require any of the Windows 7 or Windows 8 Enterprise features or want to use Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) will need to license those PCs with SA.
  • Organizations that require access to hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) from PCs will need SA — which includes Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) — or they will need to purchase a costlier VDA subscription.


  • Re-evaluate the value of Windows SA based on changes to it and the market.
  • Don't assign value to a feature unless you have plans and resources to implement it.
  • Move to new versions of Windows only as new PCs are purchased, if possible.
  • Quantify the value of each feature and the percentage of users that will take advantage of it to understand the average benefit per user.
  • Consider buying Windows Client SA for a subset of users if that's more appropriate than buying it for everyone, but understand that this will require more administration and will cost more on a per-seat basis.

Table of Contents


SA, Microsoft's software maintenance program, is important to Microsoft's revenue, and the company is always striving to ensure renewals and increase its attach rate. SA gives Microsoft a large, predictable revenue stream, and Microsoft believes that enterprises that sign up for SA are more likely to remain loyal. Customers that already own licenses for new versions of products based on an SA commitment are more likely to deploy the new products, and, in turn, to perceive value from them and renew SA.

Benefits and Features of SA on Windows Client

Many customers see new version rights as the biggest benefit SA provides. That's a problem with Windows Client, because many organizations have skipped releases or rely on PC replacement to move to new releases, making new version rights less valuable. Microsoft addressed this by adding unique features and use rights for organizations with Windows Client SA. Gartner believes that these other features provide the bulk of SA value on Windows and that organizations need to cost-justify Windows SA based on them and not on new version rights.

A special edition of Windows, Windows Enterprise, is the centerpiece of the exclusive content available to customers subscribing to Windows Client SA. There are several additional use rights that customers only have while SA is in force, and there are two subscription offerings that require SA on the Windows Client as a prerequisite for subscription — MDOP and the Companion Subscription License (CSL).

Some SA items that are benefits with Windows 7 are no longer benefits when organizations make the transition to Windows 8. Furthermore, the costs of products that provide some of the features similar to the ones in SA have changed, so organizations should re-examine the value of Windows SA. Organizations should examine each benefit and assign a value per user, based on the number or percentage of devices that will take advantage of the benefit. To justify the purchase, organizations should determine the total value of the benefits and compare it with the cost of SA.

The total value of the Windows SA benefits significantly exceeds its cost. The problem (for Microsoft and customers) is that many organizations have great plans for using the benefits, but often fail to execute, leaving much of the value untapped. Organizations that subscribe to Windows SA for specific benefits need to ensure they have the resources to actually implement them. Through 2015, less than 50% of organizations will realize value from Windows SA that exceeds its cost, because the organization will fail to deploy Windows SA features they planned to. Organizations that are not sure they will use the benefits or are in the thinking or planning stages should consider dropping Windows SA for devices that will not see value. Windows SA can always be reinstated at a later date (albeit potentially at a higher price).

IT leaders should keep in mind that Windows SA does not have to be purchased for every PC in the organization (unless it's included in an Enterprise Agreement [EA] or Open Value Companywide option). Therefore, buying SA only for users that will get the most benefit from it is an option, although administration will be difficult.


IT leaders can estimate the value of a particular feature or function in several ways. In this research, the primary methodology we use is to look at other products on the market that provide a similar function and use the typical prices organizations pay for those products to approximate the value of the feature in Windows SA. In some cases, prices of competitive products have declined or technology has improved significantly over the past three years, making ROI more of a challenge. In cases where no similar products are available, we use other methods to assess the value, such as any reduction in hardware, software or labor enabled by the feature.

IT leaders should understand how we computed the sample values and they should make changes as they like. IT leaders could decide to use a value-based approach, which may include a direct and specific comparison of the features included in Windows Client SA to those in third-party products. In this research, we generally do not evaluate how well the Microsoft feature compares with each specific competitor, and organizations may find that alternative products provide a different degree of value for their needs than the Microsoft features. Typical costs for Windows SA are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Typical Costs of Windows SA

Vehicle Used to Purchase SA


In a new full platform EA (Windows client [upgrade plus SA], Office Suite, Client Access License [CAL] Suite)

$43 to $55

Upgrade plus SA in a new component EA (excludes either Office or CAL Suite)

$51 to $64

In a full platform EA renewal (SA only)

$32 to $41

In a component EA renewal (SA only)

$34 to $43

In a Select/Plus agreement (Upgrade plus SA)

$75 to $95

In a Select/Plus agreement (SA only)

$35 to $44

*All costs are approximate, expressed as the average per device, per year over three years. Get the cost your organization would pay from Microsoft or your Large Account Reseller (LAR).

Source: Microsoft License Advisor and Gartner (April 2013)

Windows Client SA functions and an example value based on the detailed discussions included in this research are summarized in Table 2. Gartner has assigned a dollar value to each feature, but organizations should assign their own values as they like. To understand the average value per device or user, multiply the value by the number of devices, users, or images (as specified) that will take advantage of the feature, sum, and divide by the number of devices covered by SA. For "one time" benefits, divide by the number three to represent the average annual savings over the three-year life of the SA agreement.

Table 2. Summary of Windows Client SA Benefits


Gartner Suggested Dollar Value

Expression of Benefit
(per device implies that the device sees benefit from the feature)

New version upgrade rights


One time, per device that will be upgraded

Windows Enterprise

MUI — benefits for Windows 7 only

For imaging


Per image reduced per year

For language switching


One time, per device

BitLocker — benefits for Windows 7 only

For disk encryption security


Per year, per device

For PC disposal


One time, per device

Additional Windows licenses


One time, per device



Per year, per device



Per year, per device



Per year, per device

Sideloading Key


One time, per device

Use Rights



Per year, per device

Windows To Go

Up to 1,100.00

One time, per device it replaces

Roaming Use Rights

Up to 41.00

Per year, per additional new x86 device

Roaming Use Rights

Up to 75.00

Per year, per additional non-x86 or older x86 device

Local Virtual Machines (VMs)


One time, per VM

Windows Thin PC


One time, per device

Windows RT Companion Rights


Per year, per Windows RT device

Enterprise Benefits

Training vouchers

500.00 per day

One time, per organization

Support calls

1,070.00 per incident

One time, per organization

Extended support


One time, per organization

Optional Benefits (added cost)

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack


Per year, per device


Same as Roaming Use Rights

Per year, per additional extra device covered

Source: Gartner (April 2013)

New Version Rights

SA conveys rights to new versions of the covered product. In the case of the client OS, many customers have questioned the value of this benefit, because they still must purchase new PCs with licensed copies of Windows, and would only need new version rights for PCs licensed for an older release of Windows.

For organizations that plan to move to new client OSs through hardware attrition, this benefit has no value. Organizations that plan to upgrade all their PCs to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will need licenses for some, but not all, users. This is because PCs purchased after 22 October 2009 are probably already licensed for Windows 7, and PCs purchased after 26 October 2012 probably shipped with a Windows 8 license. Upgrade rights can also be obtained by purchasing a Windows Professional Upgrade (WPU), which costs organizations with Select (Plus) agreements $124 to $156 depending on their discount level. Your price will be determined by Microsoft or your reseller (estimated retail prices [ERP]) can be found at Microsoft License Advisor, but many organizations pay a lower price based on the NET cost.

To estimate a per-user value for this benefit, multiply your cost for a WPU (from your reseller — we use $145 in our example) by the percentage of users you are likely to upgrade from a prior version:

  • Example 1 — Move to new OS by PC hardware attrition: Value = $0 per user
  • Example 2 — Started a forklift upgrade to Windows 7 in 2011, but bought new PCs preloaded with Windows 7 for 10% of users in 2009, and 25% of users in 2010 and 2011: Value = $145 x 0.4 (representing the 40% of PCs that were bought prior to 22 October 2009 without Windows 7 licenses and will be upgraded) = $58 per device

The Windows upgrade (and Windows Enterprise) may be installed and run on a PC that was covered by SA, even after SA expires. However, it cannot be moved to a replacement PC if the new PC was never covered by SA.

Windows Enterprise

This is a special Windows SKU available only to users with SA that has features not included in other editions. Windows 7 Ultimate also has these features, but is a consumer SKU, which does not include reimaging rights or volume activation and may not be suitable for enterprise use (with Windows 8, the Ultimate SKU was discontinued). All features of Windows Enterprise are perpetual — i.e., a PC that is covered by SA can continue running Windows Enterprise even if SA is not renewed.

MUI, Language Packs and Switching

Windows inherently supports multiple languages since Windows Vista, and users may switch among them if they have the proper rights. Installing Windows in one language usually enables users to run Windows in a limited number of other languages. To create a single system image that includes the ability to run Windows in languages not available with the base install, the MUI feature is required.

With Windows 7, only Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs include MUI, so SA is usually required to get this feature. MUI is the only feature that comes with SA that cannot be replaced with a competitive third-party product. MUI is one of the most popular features of Windows 7 Enterprise.

With Windows 8, Microsoft has moved MUI into almost every OEM SKU. Thus, PCs purchased with Windows 8 Professional are already licensed for MUI, and organizations deploying Windows 8 should no longer count MUI as a benefit of SA. However, a Windows 8 PC without SA cannot be downgraded to Windows 7 and have MUI installed.

Most organizations that employ MUI use it to enable them to create a single-system image for worldwide use. The ability to switch languages and let one PC run in different languages for different workers (for example, for shift workers who speak different languages) is arguably a valuable benefit, but it's required by fewer users (often depending on the country in which the PC is deployed). Organizations have to buy SA to get MUI, even if the organization only wants to build a single image with multiple languages, select one language once the PC is installed and erase the rest. Ironically, this is how many OEMs ship PCs to regions where multiple languages are spoken (for example, PCs shipped to Canada usually offer English and French preloaded), but enterprises don't have the right to replicate this function in their custom Windows 7 images.

To determine the value of MUI in our model, we estimate the cost of building and maintaining extra images. We will estimate the annual cost for image maintenance and creation is $13,000 per image, per year. To estimate the benefits per user, we multiply the annual cost of creating and maintaining an image by the number of extra images that will be needed and dividing by the total number of users.

For organizations that deploy most of their PCs running a single language, consider the possibility of building two images: one in the primary language, and the other with MUI for all other users (see Table 3). This would require the purchase of SA only for the number of users who don't use the primary language. Multiply the annual cost of creating and maintaining one image by the total number of images needed minus two, and divide by the total number of users who don't use the primary language.

Table 3. The Value of Using Two Images

Value Proposition

50,000 Users

5,000 Users

5,000 Users

Number of users who don't use primary language




Total number of languages/images required without MUI




Cost per year of managing images without MUI




Cost per year of managing images with MUI for all users (assumes a single image)




Benefit of MUI per year if all users have MUI




Cost of SA per year if all users have MUI (example assumes $40 per user)

$2 million



% of SA cost covered by MUI benefit




Cost per year of managing images without MUI




Cost per year of managing images with MUI nonprimary language users (assumes two images — one for primary languages and one for MUI)




Benefit of MUI per year if only nonprimary-language-speaking users have SA and MUI




Total cost of SA for nonprimary-language-speaking users




% of SA cost covered by MUI benefit




Source: Gartner (April 2013)

Benefits for users who need to switch languages could be significantly higher, perhaps also allowing more flexibility of resource use or reduced PC purchasing. For these users, this benefit alone would be enough to justify SA for Windows 7.

BitLocker (and BitLocker To Go) Drive Encryption

BitLocker (including BitLocker To Go) is another of the more popular features for which organizations purchase SA (although they don't always end up implementing it). Unlike MUI, the encryption function provided by BitLocker can be purchased from a variety of third parties (see "Magic Quadrant for Mobile Data Protection"). Like MUI, Microsoft has decided to add BitLocker to the Windows 8 Professional SKU, which means that organizations subscribing to SA solely for BitLocker may be able to stop paying for SA if they deploy Windows 8 broadly. Organizations should realize that the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) program, the Microsoft tool that enables organizations to manage BitLocker more effectively, is only available in MDOP, which requires Windows SA be purchased. However, third-party tools from vendors like Sophos can provide a similar function.

Organizations that decided against BitLocker in Windows 7 but plan to deploy Windows 8 broadly should consider the version in Windows 8, as it has several significant new features (see "Effectively Securing Windows 8 Requires Rethinking Endpoint Security Approaches"), it is still behind most competitors. Like MUI, the fact that BitLocker is now included in Windows 8 Professional does not allow organizations to deploy Windows 7 Professional PCs with BitLocker if the PC was never covered by SA.

BitLocker (and other encryption products) could be used to protect the PC and hard drive in the case of loss or theft by relying on hardware support — Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 chip or Universal Serial Bus (USB) key (BitLocker To Go provides encryption for removable devices, such as USB drives) — and to secure data during PC disposal by destroying the key. However, destroying the key doesn't adhere to the overwrite process described by the Department of Defense (DoD) 5520.22-M standard, which is often corporate policy. Ensure that auditors or security personnel deem this method acceptable before you use it.

For disk and removable drive encryption, based on the cost of third-party, independent software vendor (ISV) offerings, we assume an acquisition cost of $35 per PC (often much lower in large contracts) and 20% annual maintenance cost in our examples, resulting in a total cost of $56 over three years (an average of $19 per year). For disposal, a three-pass overwrite data sanitization performed by a service provider would cost about $20 per PC and would meet the DoD 5520.22-M standard. A company that would buy one solution for security and disposal purposes should assign only the value of that product (likely the higher of our sample values) to BitLocker.

Organizations that deploy Windows 8 with BitLocker should assign a zero value to the feature because it is included with Windows 8 Professional at no additional charge (i.e., BitLocker does not provide value in Windows 8 Enterprise).


AppLocker enables organizations to allow or prevent applications from running, based on digital signature, vendor, application name or other metadata. AppLocker competes with a category of software we call "application control" software (see "How to Successfully Deploy Application Control"), which allows organizations to build blacklists or whitelists, and apply rules on application use to different groups of users. Such products often cost $10 to $15 per user. Many provide prepopulated whitelists and blacklists at an extra cost for the subscription, but Microsoft's AppLocker has no such option. The three-year cost for software (only) from a third-party vendor would be $14 to $21 (we use $6 per year in our example).


BranchCache improves performance for Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8 Enterprise users in branch offices. By caching data read by users on a local server, or even on a user's PC, BranchCache enables organizations to reduce the number of servers in the enterprise, while improving performance for branch office users and reducing bandwidth, as multiple requests for the same data can be retrieved from the cache. However, BranchCache doesn't overcome the issues of chatty Common Internet File System (CIFS).

Compared with BranchCache, WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) cache many additional kinds of traffic. WOCs:

  • Link encryption (added in the Windows 8 release of BranchCache)
  • Spoof CIFSs, Messaging APIs (MAPIs) and Notes
  • Optimize TCP for XP clients and servers
  • Pipeline HTTP(S) requests
  • Cache byte patterns from any sort of traffic
  • Reduce the time for remote backups by 80% to 98%

While BranchCache can be deployed relatively rapidly to supported Windows 7 and Windows 8 clients via Group Policy object (GPO), the benefit of a WOC would extend to users of any OS. For a small office doing mostly local processing and some Web/browser-based applications, BranchCache could provide as much value as a soft WOC client (100%, assuming all users ran Windows). However, for someone in an office doing lots of document creation and saving to a remote CIFS share, there may be little benefit (near 0%). To assign a value to BranchCache, organizations can consider the cost of a WOC and the average percentage of WOC functionality BranchCache will provide (from 0% to 100%) in their situation.

WOC solutions are generally priced by concurrent user, and have software and costs that must be absorbed at the central site as well, which often double the cost of the solution. The cost per concurrent user generally runs $105 to $140. If we select $125 as a sample cost, double it to reflect the cost at the central site, and add 20% maintenance for each of the three years, then we get a cost per concurrent user of $400 over three years. We would then multiply that by the percentage of the WOC benefit BranchCache provides. For example, if you expect BranchCache to provide 25% of the benefit of a WOC, it would be $400 x 0.25 = $100 over three years, or $33 per user, per year. Multiply this benefit by the percentage of users who would receive the benefit (the number of users in branches divided by the total number of users covered by SA).


DirectAccess is an automatically connecting VPN that uses an embedded dedicated client in the Windows workstation and a special configuration of Windows Server to give users an experience of continuous access to the network. This feature does not eliminate the need for a third-party VPN, unless the organization has no other clients besides Windows 7 or Windows 8 Enterprise, so a VPN may still need to be purchased and maintained. Benefits could include a reduction in help desk costs due to problems with VPNs and VPN passwords (although recent improvements across the industry have added DirectAccess-like functions and reduced user problems), and an improvement in overall security, as endpoint security software could be updated on a more-regular basis for clients that would rarely log on to the VPN.

Many organizations planned to deploy DirectAccess with Windows 7 but didn't because of its complexity. Therefore, they did not get the value they expected. With Windows 8, Microsoft has made improvements, including eliminating the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) requirement. DirectAccess requires some deployment of new Windows Server (2008 R2 to support Windows 7 DirectAccess or Windows Server 2012 to support DirectAccess in Windows 7 and Windows 8).

Organizations should consider how many service desk calls per month, on average, they get for issues with the VPN, or security problems that would have been eliminated had the user been able to receive regular updates and multiply that by their average cost. We will assume the benefit to be 0.5 (one-half a call per mobile device per year) reduced help desk calls per year (at an average of $23 per call) for mobile PCs, which often constitute about 40% of the PC fleet, which equates to about $4.60 per user, per year (0.5 x $23 x 0.4).

In the longer term, there will also be a benefit for Microsoft, as a lack of updated VPN clients almost always slows adoption of new versions of Windows.

Sideloading Key

For an organization to install Windows Store applications (Microsoft's name for any WinRT-based application, even if it's homegrown) on Windows 8 without going through the store, a sideloading key is required. Devices running Windows 8 Enterprise don't need a key. Customers automatically receive this key and associated use rights for any SA-covered device or Windows RT device. Companies with Windows 8 Pro devices and Windows RT devices without SA through an Enterprise or Select plus agreement must purchase the key separately. Each device must be assigned a key, which will allow any sideloading the organization desires, but may not be transferred to a replacement device. Sideloading keys are available only in packs of 100 for $3,000. We will use a cost of $30 per device over three years, but a small organization (e.g., 50 users or 101 users) could have a lot of licenses that will temporarily or permanently go unused, increasing the average cost per device.

Other SA Benefits — Use Rights

Another set of SA benefits is features and functions that are not part of Windows Enterprise and don't include perpetual use rights. They may only be used while Windows SA is in force on a particular device. If SA is not renewed, then the organization/user must stop using these features.

Hosted Virtual Desktop (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) Licensing — VDA

To enable a user device to access a VM running Windows Client on a host (an HVD, usually running on a server in a data center), the device must be covered with VDA. Microsoft does not license the VMs. Instead, VDA is used to license the endpoint devices accessing the VMs. Each client may access up to four host sessions with one VDA license. VDA is included in SA or is available by subscription for approximately $100 per device, per year (list price) for devices without SA. We will use $75 as a sample annual cost of VDA stand-alone as the value of the VDA component in Windows SA.

VDA can also be used to stream an OS to a diskless PC or to run an organization-owned, virtualized copy of Windows on a PC owned by someone else.

Windows To Go

Windows To Go is a new feature added with Windows 8 that allows a corporate image to be run from a bootable USB on any SA-licensed x86 PC. The primary user of an SA-licensed device can also use the product on any nonorganization-owned or managed PC while outside the office under Roaming Use Rights (see "Microsoft Roaming Use Rights: Where They Can Save Money and Where They Can't"). Like most of the SA features outside Windows Enterprise, the right to use Windows To Go ends if SA expires.

A fallacy of Windows To Go is that the user's main PC must be running Windows 8. While the Windows To Go USB drive can only run Windows 8, the user's primary device that gives them the right to run Windows To Go may run any release of Windows. A Windows 7 user that boots Windows To Go and is faced with Windows 8 may be confused on how to interact with it.

A main quantifiable benefit of Windows To Go could be for contractors or employees using their own devices instead of giving them a PC. Another less quantifiable one is for end users who no longer have to carry their PC with them if they don't want to. Windows To Go could also enable users who don't have portable devices to access computing resources at home or while traveling. These users would not be productive if there is no x86-PC available to them — for example, on an airplane. (Note that not all hardware is supported — e.g., an Intel-based Mac is not supported booting Windows To Go.) Organizations must consider that there will be a cost to providing remote access to applications and data that these users will need to be productive.

There are several ways to consider the value of Windows To Go:

  • For contractors or bring your own device (BYOD) participants who are given Windows To Go instead of a PC, we could consider the entire cost of the PC hardware as the benefit: approximately $1,100 per notebook not purchased minus $225 for three years of VDA, which would be required for the consultant's PC = $875.
  • While many users may be happy with Windows To Go instead of carrying heavy hardware with them, it is always difficult to quantify the benefit of "happier users."
  • An organization that deploys desktop PCs instead of notebooks could quantify the benefit based on Gartner's total cost of ownership (TCO) model. For example, a moderately managed desktop PC will have direct costs that are $366 per year ($1,100 over three years) less than a moderately managed day extender notebook.
  • An organization that uses Windows To Go instead of HVD might use the cost of providing the HVD solution as the amount of the benefit. However, the HVD solution would likely include capability for serving applications and hosting data, which may also be required for Windows To Go.
  • Windows To Go does a subset of what some other products on the market have done for many years, so we could use the cost or a subset of the cost of a product like MokaFive as a proxy.

In our research, we use the savings in direct costs of desktop PCs over notebooks. Use a number based on the benefit to your organization.

Roaming Use Rights

Roaming Use Rights (roaming rights) allow the primary user of a device covered by SA/VDA to access a remote VM (VDI/HVD) or run Windows To Go from devices without requiring their own Windows license, as long as the device is not owned or managed by the organization (for an idea of "managed" see Microsoft's "Product List") and it's not located on the organization's premises.

Roaming rights bring Microsoft a step closer to user-based licensing for Windows Client (and Office) and resolves some licensing issues organizations have had with some virtualization technologies at no additional cost to the customer. However, roaming rights are difficult for organizations to understand and comply with.

If users exercise roaming rights, they are basically avoiding buying Windows SA or VDA coverage for the device. However, roaming rights are narrower than SA or VDA, so users may decide that roaming rights are worth less than SA or VDA offerings. We will consider the value of roaming rights to be the cost of Windows SA (for devices that would be eligible) or the cost of VDA (for our examples, $41 or $75, respectively). To calculate the value, estimate the number of devices per user that would exercise these rights. In a large organization, this could be a fractional number. If 100,000 users are in the organization, 99,500 won't use roaming rights, 400 might have one additional device on average, and 100 may have three additional devices on average, making the calculation 99,500 x 0 + 400 x 1 + 100 x 3 divided by 100,000 = 0.7% x either $75 for VDA or $41 for SA.

Local Virtualization Rights

PCs that will use dual-boot or local PC virtualization software (such as VMware Workstation or Microsoft Virtual PC) will need additional Windows licenses. There's no way to buy full Windows licenses on any volume license agreement (only upgrades are available). Therefore, without SA, full retail versions must be purchased. Full versions of Windows 7 Pro cost $200 to $300. Windows 8 OEM, which replaced full licenses, is not licensed for business use. The SA benefit includes the ability to run up to four virtual copies of Windows on each PC. For the small number of users who typically need PC virtualization (such as developers, technical sales and help desk), SA is automatically justified.

Windows Thin PC

Available only with SA, Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) is a trimmed version of Windows 7 (not yet Windows 8) for use on older PCs that are not powerful enough to run Windows 7. The main purpose of WinTPC is to enable users running old PCs to replace unsupported versions of Windows with a supported release. Microsoft will support a limited number of applications running locally; others will need to be run from Remote Desktop Services (RDS) servers. A problem with WinTPC is that a PC that is so old that it cannot run Windows 7 may not be under SA, unless the organization has Windows in its EA. For the PCs that need it, we value WinTPC similarly to a Windows upgrade — $145 over the life of the device — in our example.

Windows RT as a Companion Device

The primary user of a device with Windows SA on it can access a hosted virtual desktop at no additional cost from a companion Windows RT device assigned to or owned by a company. The Windows RT device can be used on-premises or off-premises without paying for VDA or a CSL. We will use the price of VDA as the benefit: $75 per Windows RT companion device per year.

Training Vouchers

Open Value users who subscribe to SA for Windows will receive vouchers for one training day for every 50 licenses they keep under SA, for a maximum of 10 days (value $500 per day; total $500 to $5,000). Select customers will get anywhere from one day per 25 Windows Client under SA (250 licenses) to one day per 857 licenses they have under SA (for an organization with 600,000 licenses under SA) based on the program licensed under and the number of qualifying licenses for which SA is acquired.

24/7 Telephone Support

For every $200,000 spent on SA for Windows Client (or Microsoft Office), the customer will get one free support incident. The calls must be used during the SA period. They can be converted to Premier Support hours, usually at a rate of about five hours per incident; however, they might expire sooner, because Premier Support agreements generally run for one year, while SA runs for three years. We will assign the Premier Support value of $214 per hour (U.S. list price in 2013) x 5 hours = $1,070 per incident.

Extended Support

When an OS enters the Extended Support phase of support (usually five years after release), the Extended Support offering, which costs $50,000, enables the organization to pay for nonsecurity fixes. The fee is waived for SA customers, as is the requirement to subscribe within 90 days of the product entering the phase. However, all fixes will be charged. Paying the fee entitles the organization to one fix, which costs about $30,000, so the value is about $20,000 for Year 1. Both annual and per-fix fees increase each year (we estimate $90,000 over three years). Windows XP and Windows Vista are currently in the Extended Support phase, but few customers need nonsecurity fixes. This benefit will not help with support once Extended Support ends (which will occur on 8 April 2014 for Windows XP). Consider this a benefit if you think you might take advantage of it.

Pricing and Payments

The ability to spread out payments is one of the basic benefits of SA, and organizations may want to include the time value of money as part of their benefits. We are not including it in our estimates.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack

MDOP is an additional set of products designed to help organizations manage their PCs and improve user experience. The products included in MDOP are Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM), Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT), User Experience-Virtualization (UE-V) and Application Virtualization (App-V). MDOP is a subscription offering at an additional cost that requires Windows SA as a prerequisite. Organizations can subscribe to MDOP for as many or as few devices as they like.

Companion Subscription License

The CSL picks up where roaming rights leave off. With roaming rights, a device that is owned or managed by the organization and/or on organization premises cannot access an HVD or run Windows To Go. With CSL, a device owned by the primary user of the covered device can access HVD or run Windows To Go even if it is on the organization's premises, or whether the organization manages it. Also covered by CSL are non-x86-based companion devices the organization owns and assigns to the primary user of the covered device. CSL costs $75 per user, per year and covers up to four user-owned or non-x86 organization-owned devices. CSL is subscribed to for a device covered by SA and benefits the primary user of the device. As with roaming rights, the device may not have the organization's image installed on it locally. A device covered by CSL would not automatically get a sideloading key. It would need a key purchased for it separately.

To estimate the value of CSL, we use the cost of SA or VDA and the same methodology used for estimating the value of roaming rights: Multiply CSL by the average number of devices the users will use it for (from one to four) and subtract the annual cost of CSL.