Enterprise Sideloading is the process of installing Windows Apps directly to a device without going through the Windows Store. You can imagine that this is ideal for organisations that want to build their own custom line of business apps and then distribute them directly to their devices since it would make no sense to make those apps publicly available through the Windows Store.
Devices must be enabled for Enterprise Sideloading, and this functionality has historically been enabled as a feature for domain-joined PCs running Windows Enterprise edition. Other devices, either running different editions of Windows or not joined to the domain, could be enabled for Sideloading via a product key. These product keys were available in packs of 10 or 100 keys, or were an SA benefit for certain customers.
However, there are some changes which are effective from 1 May 2014 – here’s the summary:
- Domain joined devices running Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise edition (including Industry edition), in any Volume Licensing program, are feature-enabled for Windows Enterprise Sideloading
- Windows RT 8.1 or Pro/Enterprise devices that are not domain joined still require product keys which are obtained by acquiring Enterprise Sideloading Rights
- Enterprise Sideloading Rights are granted to all customers who have an Enterprise Agreement or Select Plus agreement, or for academic institutions, an EES or a School agreement
- For customers without the above agreements, Enterprise Sideloading Rights can be purchased for $100 through the Open program to cover an unlimited number of devices
There’s a presentation from Microsoft you may find useful to peruse (http://bit.ly/1omercG) or refer to the May 2014 Product List on page 33.