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Simon Bramfitt, founder and research director at Entelechy Associates, a Concord, Calif.-based virtualization consultancy, said Windows 8 could provide Microsoft with a window for changing its licensing terms.
"What is harder to assess is whether or not Microsoft will treat Windows 8 on ARM tablets as a fully-fledged Windows 8 platform, or whether it will be classified as an embedded OS, and hence require it to have a separate VDA license," said Bramfitt.
In the meantime, Microsoft partners can also deliver Windows and Office-as-a-service through Microsoft's Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) using Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
This option is appealing to enterprises because Windows Server and RDS offer similar functionality to Windows 7 virtual machines without requiring an expensive SAN, said Paul DeGroot, principal analyst at Pica Communications, Camano Island, Wash.
"One of the things they like is that RDS can work just fine with iOS, Android, and even Blackberry cell phones and it has built-in capabilities for brokering connects to virtual desktops," DeGroot said.
Cloud service provider Nivio has found this a cheaper route to market: It offers a 10-hour desktop-as-a-service plan for students and teachers for $2 a month, and an unlimited plan for road warriors for $15 per month with clients for iOS, Android, Macs, and PCs.
In a blog post earlier this month, Erwin Visser, senior director in Microsoft's Windows Commercial Group, said Microsoft is planning to improve the Windows 8 VDI user experience, while also allowing IT "to implement VDI infrastructures that are more cost effective and easier to manage".
While it is unclear if these VDI changes will give partners a clearer path to delivering Windows desktop-as-a-service, it is safe to say that partners are hoping that this come to pass.