What took Microsoft so long? Windows 8.1 is available in a whole bunch of SKUs right now, from Windows 8.1 Core to Pro, Enterprise and RT 8.1, but Redmond is going to shuffle things up a little.

Up until now, the Enterprise flavor of the company’s latest operating system has only been available as part of the Microsoft Software Assurance Volume licensing program. Starting March 1, however, small businesses will too be able to get Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

The reason for this, as confirmed by a company spokesperson, is because Microsoft is planning to release a standalone version of this operating system:

“We have heard from customers of all sizes who could benefit from being able to use Windows Enterprise and we have responded to that feedback with the availability of Windows Enterprise as a standalone upgrade option.

Additionally some customers per internal policy are unable to enter annuity agreements. This change expands the availability of the Enterprise edition to now include these customers. Windows Enterprise will be available as a standalone upgrade SKU in the Open and Select/Select Plus programs beginning March 1, 2014.”

The enterprise sector makes up almost 55 percent of Microsoft’s business, and with the end of support date of Windows XP fast approaching, this is the perfect time for a move like this.

If anything, the software titan should have done this sooner.

Windows 8.1 Enterprise is largely the same as the Pro version of the operating system, but it does come with a few additional features like support for Windows To Go, AppLocker, DirectAccess, BranchCache along with enhanced VDI capabilities.

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  1. Good move

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