- There were a few leaks that suggested Microsoft is working on bringing PCs to the cloud
- Now the Redmond company has officially unveiled Windows 365, built on top of Azure Virtual Desktop
- You will be able to use it on virtually any device, either by logging in on the browser or through an app
Back in December, 2019, I was saying that the future of Windows lies in the cloud. However, even then we were referring to what was at the time Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop. Now Microsoft has taken a huge leap forward and has revealed Windows 365, as it was leaked just a couple of days ago.
The new Cloud PC service will enable customers to create installs of Windows 10 or even the newest Windows 11 in the cloud and stream the OS to virtually any device out there. Now how about that? Aimed at enterprise and EDU customers, Windows 365 will essentially let you run the latest Windows features from your browser on your Mac, iPad, or Android devices.
Built on Azure Virtual Desktops, the service is similar to XCloud service, which allows you to stream games from the cloud. Pricing hasn’t been yet disclosed, but we know the service will become available in the beginning of August, just in time for the busy Q4 season.
Windows 365 will be a subscription-based service with no minimum requirements, ranging from super small to huge companies. This could become a potential disruptor in the market if it comes at the right pricing; and we will definitely give it a try here at Reflector Media, as well.
Of course, virtualization and remote access to computers isn’t something new, but what we’re looking at here is Microsoft looking to deliver a very clean and streamlined product that is ready for the post-pandemic world of hybrid work.
Now let’s have a look at some of the features that we believe are going to matter for your business and which seem very interesting. As a side note, I’m not a professional IT Pro, so I will be happy to hear you out in the comments.
1. Ease of Use
There are plenty of virtualization and cloud PC solutions available on the market, with Microsoft’s own Azure Virtual Desktop or other solutions from companies like Citrix. But from the looks of it, it seems that Microsoft is trying to make the service as easy to use as possible.
Wangui McKelvey, general manager for Microsoft 365, highlights the important of the instant-on boot experience that will allow workers to stream their Windows session across their entire ecosystem:
Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience. You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices
Windows 365 will work on any modern web browser as a login or through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app, which sounds very streamlined.
Yes, I know that at the moment we don’t have all the details with regards to Windows 365 pricing, but there’s a good enough hint. The same McKelvey went on to say the following:
Windows 365 is really going to make a huge difference for organizations that wanted to try virtualization for various reasons but could not — maybe it was too costly, too complex or they didn’t have the expertise in house to do it
By asserting that Windows 365 comes as an alternative to solutions that were too pricey, it’s obvious that Microsoft has made a very smart analysis in the back and will come up with a very aggressive pricing scheme.
This is going to be very very interesting to observe how it evolves, because at the moment businesses have different solutions at their disposal when it comes to managing their employees’ software costs. Will Windows 365 prove to be a cheaper option? We think so.
3. Faster and Safer Deployment
Another very appealing feature is the fact that your IT department will be able to create Cloud PCs within minutes. This will enable your enterprise to potentially solve such issues as having to rely on actual physical hardware. Furthermore, with the increasing number of cyber attacks, the procedure of safeguarding remote workers isn’t always an easy process.
The deployment of an entire Windows PCs in the cloud in a matter of minutes could be the answer to that. This sounds like it would also reduce the number of problem caused by faulty Windows Updates.
Furthermore, small businesses that likely have no IT support, will be able to set up everything by themselves (we’re definitely going to release a guide on how to do it). The bigger companies will be able to rely on Microsoft Endpoint Manager.