Windows Virtual Desktop becomes Azure Virtual Desktop and adds new features

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Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft’s Azure-based solution for running virtualized versions of Windows and Office is being rebranded to Azure Virtual Desktop. The name change reflects Microsoft’s broader vision for its cloud virtual desktop infrastructure, which is also getting new capabilities and pricing options for remote app streaming tailored for the hybrid workplace.

“To help our customers and partners meet these new hybrid work demands, we are expanding our vision to become a flexible cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case—accessible from virtually anywhere, explained Kam VedBrat, Partner Group Program Manager at Microsoft. “A modern VDI platform needs to be secure, scalable, and easy to manage, while delivering a seamless, high-performance experience to end users. It should also empower organizations with the flexibility to customize and build solutions with its core technology.”

Starting today, Azure Virtual Desktop customers can test managing Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Enhanced support for Azure Active Directory is also coming soon in public preview, as well as a new QuickStart experience that will offer a streamlined onboarding experience to customers.

Create a Quickstart application

Microsoft is also introducing next year a new per-user monthly pricing option for organizations interested in providing remote app streaming to external users. The new per-user access pricing option will officially launch on January 1, 2022, and pricing will be $5.50 per user per month for apps, and $10 per user per month for apps plus desktops.

Organizations will be able to use Azure Virtual Desktop for streaming first-party or third-party applications to external users at no additional cost for a promotional period that will last from July 14, 2021, to December 31, 2021. However, organizations interested in using this new offering will need to keep paying for the underlying Azure infrastructure.