NuMicrosoft managed to piss of lots of people since 2012, but with the advent of Windows 10 one customer-segment especially got the “fuck you”-treatment: Small businesses.
Microsoft’s volume licensing schemes are just too costly for these customers. It’s far more cheaper for them to buy OEM-licenses on Amazon and other online-retailers than going the volume-license route, which are usually double the price if not more in case of Windows. The only drawbacks are mutiple license keys, but an Excel-table is usually all you need to manage this.
But with Windows 10, MS basically created a new extortion scheme. Of all the editions, only one, the LTSB, is something you can live with if you have a business to run. It’s the only version where you get updates without forced upgrades and all the crap that comes with them since Windows 10: Removal of applications without notification during the update-upgrade, non-usable computers for more than a hour (possibly during critical work-time!) new sudden anti-features like ads in the start menu and regressions. The LTSB is also less spy-happy than the other versions.
But LTSB is only available through volume-licensing. Gotcha!
The scheme is clear: Either you pay massively up (LTSB costs around 350$ per seat on Open License) or you live with a massively degraded experience compared to all previous versions of Windows. And even if you pay: The non-metrotard (win32) advantages of W10 compared to W7 are pretty negligble, if there are any at all. You basically pay for the extension of the patch-support.
A foretaste of the respect MS shows to SMBs in the post-W10 world can also be seen by the dreaded GWX-updates. Although they don’t show any nag-screens if the PC is connected to the domain (unless some “accidents” happen) they still download over five gigabytes of useless Windows 10 installation files everywhere they install. That issue becomes a real annoyance in case of SSDs and virtual machines, where every gig is precious.
The problem intensifies, because one of the most popular Windows Server versions especially designed for small businesses, Foundation Edition, doesn’t come with WSUS! So you either guard the update-process on every single PC or you just give up and live with lots of wasted space for no good reason at all. And any attempts to remove these updates through scripting become an endless Whac-A-Mole, because MS constanty re-issues these fucking things on Windows Update. Clever. The extortion is clear once again: Pay up for a better server version, asshole, OR ELSE.
So much for Windows 10 being free of cost.