Microsoft could introduce subscription-based Windows service

Devesh Beri

Microsoft may be exploring the possibility of offering Windows as a subscription service for regular users, similar to their existing offerings for businesses with Windows 365 Cloud PC, as discovered by DeskModder. This concept of a subscription-based Windows service is not entirely new, Microsoft has already introduced subscription options for Office products such as Microsoft 365.

The latest Windows Canary build has added subscription-related entries to the slmgr.ini file, indicating that Microsoft is actively working on improving the management and tracking of subscription-based versions of Windows. 

  • Subscription edition – (L_MsgSubscriptionEdition)
  • Subscription type – L_MsgSubscriptionType (as ‘Device-based subscription’ or ‘User-based subscription’)
  • Subscription status – L_MsgSubscriptionStatus (Active, Not active, Disabled, Expired)

These entries may be used for determining the subscription edition, type (device-based or user-based), and status (active, not active, disabled, expired) of the operating system.

While the specific details of Microsoft’s plans for a subscription-based Windows service for regular consumers are not known, the trend in the software industry has been moving toward subscription models. Microsoft may be considering this approach to provide users with a more flexible and continuously updated Windows experience while generating a more predictable revenue stream.

A subscription model for Windows could offer several advantages to consumers such as making the operating system more affordable to those who don’t want to pay a large upfront cost. 

On the flipside, monthly payments can end up costing more than a one-time purchase of Windows, depending on the prices.