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BWW Media Group / Microsoft draws the line on Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC

Microsoft draws the line on Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC

What’s the difference between a gadget geek and an IT pro? A day job in technology.

For sure, many if not most of the professionals keeping companies’ systems up and running were attracted to the field because they love technology. And the IT field is full of people who still enjoy tinkering with the latest and greatest tech releases.

But when it comes to getting the job done, IT buyers are much, much less interested in novelty. Reliable security, compatibility and performance are far more important than bells and whistles when your job depends on software and hardware playing nicely together.

Today’s object lesson in corporate conservatism: Windows 10 Enterprise Long Term Service Channel (LTSC), a version of Windows as a service that companies have purchased under a 10-year license — up to now.

In a Feb. 18 blog post, Joe Lurie, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft 365, announced that the company is cutting that term down to five years, starting with the release due in the second half of 2021.

Microsoft’s motivation? Many IT buyers’ practice of avoiding feature updates by sticking with the Enterprise LTSC version for the long term.

As Microsoft puts it: “Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC is meant for specialty devices and scenarios that simply cannot accept changes or connect to the cloud, but still require a desktop experience: regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices on the manufacturing floor that never touch the internet, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term support channel.”

Translation: Microsoft never intended Enterprise LTSC to become a default system for organizations reluctant to adopt all the latest feature updates (and their attendant bugs).

So what’s a marketer to do? Respect the caution your buyers feel about OS updates, and work with them to anticipate and mitigate new features that may create extra work for them.

What’s the most prudent OS migration path tech buyers can follow that keeps systems up to date while maximizing security, compatibility and performance? If you can strike the right balance, you’ll gain confidence from your enterprise partners.