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As part of an effort to give IT service providers more control over the desktop, Tech Data has launched a subscription service for the enterprise edition of Windows 10.

The goal of Tech Data’s Windows 10 Enterprise E3 program is to make it simpler for service providers to license a full suite of Microsoft cloud technologies and to enable them to more easily bundle hardware with those services if they so choose, said Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of the Tech Data Cloud business unit.

“There are a lot of MSPs that want to be able to create a hybrid solution,” Nethercoat said.

Most cloud service providers that provide managed services out to the desktop have a vested interest in making sure the customers they serve have the latest software and systems. The cost of supporting customers over time tends to increase as applications and systems start to age.

That typically results in MSPs trying to charge extra for delivering services for the older systems, which is usually an effort most customers will resist, explained Geoff Woolacott, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “It’s difficult to get a customer to pay more,” said Woolacott. “Customers always think they should pay less for IT over time.”

Naturally, there’s some debate as to whether it’s in the best interest of MSPs to resell hardware at all. Many MSPs have bifurcated business models because they started out as resellers that later expanded into providing managed services.

Yet other analysts note many MSPs eschew selling hardware altogether because margins tend to be thin and the complexity associated with operating two business models is high.

“An MSP may have a vested interest in making sure a customer has the latest equipment,” said PartnerPath CEO Diane Krakora. “But that doesn’t mean they should then turn around and resell hardware.”

Regardless of how IT service providers go about making sure customers stay current, one thing that is for sure is that customers that commit to staying current are a lot more valuable than those that don’t.

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWEEK. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Channel Insider and Baseline.