Last week I was reading this blog post by RockFord Lhotka. He talks about the cost of deploying a business application for Windows 8 using sideloading. Sideloading is the process of installing a Windows 8 application without the need to put in the Windows 8 store. This is probably the most useful option when you want to get a company app to your users.
From his blog:
The short story with deployment is summarized in this table:
On Domain Not on domain Windows RT n/a w/ key Windows 8 n/a n/a Windows 8 Pro w/ key w/ key Windows 8 Enterprise yes w/ key
The “yes” designation means you can deploy to these devices at no additional cost for licensing. You will still need to figure out how to actually push the apps to the Windows 8 Enterprise computers. The options are the same as what follows where I discuss the “w/ key” designation.
The “w/ key” designation means you need to buy a $30 side-loading product activation key that is per device, and which is non-transferable. So to side-load apps on your Surface RT (for example) you need to buy a $30 key. These keys come in packs of 100, so the minimum price is $3000.
I was really shocked by this news. This means that you already have to spend a lot of money, just to have the right to install your application on a Windows 8 device. If you starts to take the deployment mechanism into account(and use the InTune add-in for System Center for example) the costs even increase more.
Rockford Lhotka gives the sample of deploying and running a Company Windows 8 app on 100 devices for 3 years will cost you around $23,000 extra to deploy a WinRT app just for this licensing! This kills the whole Windows 8 opportunity for company apps.
I think I would recommend to build a web application or WPF application instead…