Bottom line: Internet of Things devices are likely to account for more than 100 billion internet connected devices over the next decade. Microsoft is looking to cash in on the opportunity by offering subscription-based access to updates and guaranteed support.
At Computex 2018, Microsoft debuted Windows 10 IoT Core Services. The enterprise-focused operating system for Internet of Things devices is being made available as a subscription instead of a single purchase.
A public preview of Windows 10 IoT Core Services is now available for anyone to try. Subscriptions must be purchased through Azure and are $0.15 per device each month during the preview period. Once Microsoft's preview ends, pricing will jump to $0.30 per device per month. Cloud Solution Providers will be able to act as resellers while OEMs are able to prepay for services.
Microsoft intends to support its IoT platform for at least ten years by providing security and performance updates. One of the biggest reasons that enterprises may consider a subscription is that Windows Updates will be used to distribute updates to all software on connected IoT devices. Independent developers will be able to make use of the same Windows Update services being used by hundreds of millions of people.
The basic Windows 10 IoT Core operating system will remain freely available for anyone to use, but will lack features that are almost a necessity for many industrial use cases.
Looking at the predicted number of IoT devices that will be in service over the next decade, Microsoft could be looking at some substantial new sales opportunities. Single entities may have thousands of registered devices at any given time. By 2025, there will be an estimated 75 billion internet connected devices in use. Should Microsoft be able to capture even one percent of this market, it could line its pockets with an extra few billion dollars annually.