Microsoft announces Windows 365, a version of Windows you can stream from the cloud

Cloud Pc Render
Cloud Pc Render (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has announced a new, cloud version of Windows 10 and Windows 11.
  • It's called Windows 365 and is launching August 2nd.
  • It's like XCloud, but for Windows.
  • For now, it is only for enterprise and EDU.

Update July 15, 2021, at 1:00 pm ET: The service's pricing model has been partially revealed.

Microsoft has today announced its new Cloud PC service, officially called Windows 365, that allowing customers to create installs of Windows 10 or Windows 11 in the cloud and stream the OS to any device. The service will go live August 2nd (opens in new tab), and is designed to bring the best of Windows to any device, including Mac, iPad, or Android devices.

Windows 365 will allow users to install their favorite Windows apps and experiences in the cloud, and access them from any device they choose. Cloud PCs will support "instant-on" start up, and will be available via subscription at a flat rate.

Of course, Windows 365 is not replacing Windows 11 or Windows 10. The local version of Windows is still considered the latest, and will always be available to install locally without a subscription. Windows 365 is merely a service that allows users to stream instances of Windows 10 or Windows 11 via the cloud as if it were your own PC.

Windows 365 is built on Azure Virtual Desktops, and works in a similar fashion to Microsoft's XCloud service, which allows you to stream games from the cloud. Users will be able to choose the size of their Windows 365 install. Microsoft hasn't yet announced plans or pricing for Windows 365, but the company is expected to do so on August 2nd when the service goes live. Microsoft unveiled Windows 365 during its Inspire 2021 keynote.

The service will launch first for enterprises, with no word on when or if Windows 365 will be available for non-enterprise customers. What are your thoughts on Windows 365? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Move from "Product" to "Service" is the future
    I think Everything is gonna change in the near future (For the better) XD
  • Better for the vendor, not for the consumer.
  • I agree with isotophe - this looks like a boon for vendors; not so great for end users. How did cloud based subscription services work out for Adobe users?
  • Adobe is a successful company. Their customers apparently disagree with you and isotophe. Also, it's not like they're aren't single-payment alternatives.
  • A bunch of people have openly stated that they hate the Adobe model and pricing, but switching platforms would be costly because of retraining staff on a new platform would take time and money. Adobe's benefitting because they hooked people in, so they bleed people of money and release products that aren't as advanced as competing platforms. By your logic, McDonald's has high-quality food and Dollar General is a luxury store.
  • I can back up Keith's statement. We use Adobe Creative Suite Cloud because we have to. I resent that we can't just buy a copy every few years. I have a small handful of users who need the latest version. Most of our users are more casual and could stick with a version for 3-5 years at a time. For this reason, I prefer Corel DRAW Graphics Suite (though they get you too if you try to upgrade some users by preventing saving to an old version by default, forcing a manual Save As every time to keep files in a version compatible with older software), and while it's arguably as good or better for many features, for compatibility and to find people expert in using it, Adobe's pretty much the only game in town. Having said all of that, Microsoft is OFFERING THIS, not forcing, so I have no problem. And if the pricing is good (unlike Adobe's outrageous pricing), maybe we'll even pick up some licenses.
  • This is Mac vs. Windows, 1998, all over again. Even though you could buy a one-time copy of Windows, they still dominated for the reasons you cite as Adobe's advantage.
  • McDonald's dominant position has shrunk due to competition. Adobe is still dominant. The competition lags.
  • How is this better? You end up paying more because you never own what you buy. You're locked into an ecosystem by the subscription, making switching harder. You can't physically access things to troubleshoot, so you're at the mercy of a giant corporation's phones and staff (often outsourced and more gatekeepers to help than anything). If you hate owning things or timely fixes to problem, or you're a company that likes people to be helpless without you, this is better. It also is likely to hurt entry-level IT jobs because of the outsourced nature of support that MS will employ, as most large companies have in the last decade or two. So, yeah, renting your PC forever and fewer job opportunities sound great!
  • It's not about being better, it's a new offering. You may not pay more because you get cloud management rather than physical device management. This isn't about being locked into any ecosystem, windows killed that idea a while ago with WSL and now Android support coming. As for mercy - a giant corporation has MUCH more capability than most IT shops and I dunno HOW long its been since you have used cloud services - the support isn't off shored. You also typically get an account liaison or TAM to help you. This actually is as far from "helpless" as you can get since you wouldn't manage failure, you'd just start a new instance a nd move on. This won't hurt entry level at all since its cheaper for an entry level person to learn this for a few bucks than to buy physical hardware. The cloud hasn't hurt entry level jobs - if anything tech has been blowing up for years. Not to mention tech is now business critical so we've actually moved further away from offshoring. Renting a PC forever can actually cut down on waste as well...
  • This service is for businesses, not consumers. It will be better as far as Windows security and maintenance are concerned. This takes some of the burden off the IT department, assuming the client company even has an IT department. In addition, it makes it much easier to set up remote work/hybrid work.
  • It also allows you to start pivotting off Windows and having a stop gap in the meantime. This really could end up being the end of Windows. This sounds like methadone for Windows.
  • Pushing the PC into the Cloud is the next logical cloud adoption step for enterprise computing. I can imagine that this is going to allow companies to scale up and down the number of units quickly, allow them to run on a heterogenous mix of client side boxes with a lower capital cost, reduce the administration overhead, and increase data security. For smaller companies this has to look rather attractive especially since the cost is no longer usage based but a flat rate on a per user or monthly basis. Using my experience with Office over the years the cost of subscription vs perpetual license are roughly trading dollars when you factor in the cost of purchasing new versions every few years, that a family plan allows the cost to spread out over 5 users, plus the added value of the 1 TB of OneDrive storage. In the Cloud PC case if similar added value is included such as a local OS license the cost starts to become quite attractive for main stream computing needs. The adoption for this paradigm, while still a minor part of the total spend on computing, is starting to show real uptake. In 2020 this segment of computing generated $4.5 billion in revenue and grew by 19% while in 2019 the grow rate was 11%. This is another example of how the Cloud is going to drive computing over the next decade and will be dominated by companies that have extensive data center networks; if you think Amazon, Google, and Microsoft already wield to much power you ain't seen nothing yet.
  • Keith, all things being equal, I'd also rather own that "rent," but if the price is good enough, so that it's basically less than what I'd be spending anyway at my upgrade rate or even if it's the same but offers some compelling advantages or cost savings in other areas (e.g., improved roaming on cheaper hardware), then paying for the service makes sense. As an example, I happily pay for Office 365, because that's a better deal than buying the software with every update, which I definitely would do for Office. It directly saves us money over buying permanent licenses.
  • Colin, Exactly. Subscriptions when priced fairly, like Office 365, make sense. The full Adobe suite subscription is expensive and an example of a tenuous value proposition when compared to perpetual licenses; this is especially true since the feature set is mature and incrementally improves. As an example, I still use Photoshop CS6 (it is nearly an antique) as I can make it do whatever I want. I recently spent some time with the latest and greatest Photoshop and I was shocked at how little the core parts had changed. The Cloud PC subscription looks like it could be a winner for small to medium businesses that have limited IT resources. Without knowing squat about the pricing the per user or per month license model to be a winner as it is predictable expense.
  • There's also ransomware protection. If you get hit with ransomware, it's much easier to back up and roll back cloud-stored instances than to deal with a typical SMB IT hodgepodge of old and new desktops and laptops. Malware hitting one PC is also much less able to clobber the entire local network and damage files on networked storage.
  • Not surprised, of course. It was a foregone conclusion this was coming. My questions are where's our work and play bundle? Is a family plan coming? Can you play Game Pass on a virtual machine? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck virtual wood?
  • As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck had a thin terminal, an Internet server, and a 365 Enterprise account.
  • Virtually unlimited wood ... although caps may apply, of course
  • Is there any way we could work Peter Piper into this?
  • News flash. This has been done by other companies years ago without the dubious 'streaming' claim. I guess that makes it a fresh take in marketing's eyes? For you, Coco, that is VDI, back in 2007; see VMware, Citrix et al.
  • Sell your Citrix stock.
  • Are you thinking of a repeat, like when Hyper-V drove VMware out of business?
  • Touché. (Although, to be fare, VMware is Dell now, even if it's stock isn't.)
  • Microsoft doesn't always get into these markets to put companies out of business. These companies you mention are partners and would not exist without Windows and its ecosystem. It's a symbiotic relationship. Microsoft also needed a native virtual machine platform to allow many other products to succeed, like the Xbox One for example, and their desktop virtualization and remote desktop work goes back as far as Citrix's work does.
  • It's like you weren't around during 2020.
  • Some of us weren't playing with Legos in the 2000's but go ahead and claim this is something novel the newest crop of MS engineers just created out of thin air.
  • Who is claiming this? And what does this have to do with your resentment of young people? I know people who were playing with Legos only 10 years ago who have resumes that would make you blush. They don't let lame straw men or ageism ruin their day.
  • It is a strawman argument that I resent young people.
  • You’ve made specious arguments here too. It doesn’t matter who was first but rather who is best. Some combination of better features, management, or pricing could make this a winner for some customers. It remains to be seen. As for me, if I was a smallish it Dept working to secure and manage a bunch of windows machines that are probably only running a couple of apps that need win32…I’d be thinking real hard about chrome books with this. Who do you think would be better at maintaining and hardening windows than ms?
  • The difference is this is a managed service, which means the user/customer doesn't really have to worry so much about maintaining Windows. Provisioning a Windows 365 Cloud PC should be pretty straightforward.
  • What is going to happen with azure cloud/VM services?
  • Nothing, this is attempt at FUD. More deck chair rearrangement by MS.
  • This is running desktop PC operating system in the cloud, which is a market that's untapped and unrealized. It's a service built on Azure cloud, so this will actually add customers to Azure.
  • Azure Virtual Machines will still exist. Windows 365 will be billed differently (and more simply) than Azure Virtual Machines and will be easier to provision and maintain.
  • So I can eventually switch all my machines to ChromeOS and have Windows programs available while they are still needed? Sounds great.
  • Yep, knock yourself out. For me, that adds complexity but to each their own ...which is the name of the game.
  • @bleached while you're at it, you should switch from windows central too! 😁🙃.
  • What you don't get is that you paid for the Chromebook once, but Microsoft is making more money from you every month LOL. MS wins
  • Or Microsoft is making a system to help you wean yourself off Windows. What else would this do?
  • You could do that, even without trolling! And you'd pay Microsoft for the privilege!
  • You would pay them shortly while you complete the transition. This seems like a system designed to help you wean yourself off Windows. I don't really see what else the point is. It just makes it easier to switch to other platforms, especially for enterprise.
  • Yes, this is a big Kamikaze play by Microsoft. Good trolling, bleached.
  • So I suspect, you as en Enterprise Guru, will step in as of August 2nd 2021. No need to further waste your time here. Please confirm matters.
  • I agree. I don’t hate windows but for most people it is overkill, and chrome os + windows 365 could be a pretty good solution, depending on pricing.
  • Nah considering W11 will feel more familiar to mobile OS's users while being more flexible than ChromeOS (and even gets Android support too), there is little reason to pay extra for the subscription and instead just buy a Windows laptop. When look at what low-spec or outdated hardware is inside many ChromeOS laptops, they are not all that cheap too all things considered.
  • I think your missing the fact that many organizations pay 3rd parties to help manage windows machines and keep them secure anyway. Dollar for dollar a chrome machine will often be better hardware than windows, and if windows 365 is priced remotely similarly to the support costs for a managed windows machine this can be worthwhile. Not for all, but for some certainly.
  • I think your missing the fact that many organizations pay 3rd parties to help manage windows machines and keep them secure anyway. Dollar for dollar a chrome machine will often be better hardware than windows, and if windows 365 is priced remotely similarly to the support costs for a managed windows machine this can be worthwhile. Not for all, but for some certainly.
  • That is true that it makes more sense for businesses (I was thinking of consumers where it makes less sense). "Dollar for dollar a chrome machine will often be better hardware than windows", yeah but not enough to compensate for the subscription costs when you look at the whole picture for dollar for dollar (so aside specs also screen quality, build quality, mobo, ram, storage etc).
  • And you guys said Windows wouldn't be on the Duo... HAH! I even mentioned this the week before Win11 announcement on this site that it was coming. Of course I said it was going to be announced on Jun24th but better late than never... actually it would have been better to announce this that day as a one more thing.
  • ^^ takes vision to see some things..
  • Is Duo's screen larger than 9 inches?
    That's a Win11 requirement.
  • Duo is only 8.1" fully open... but Windows 365 may not care what it's on?
  • That's only a Windows 11 requirement...
  • Yeah, the article literally said it would be available on all devices, including Android.
  • Yeah, I also suspect some of this has to do with form factor innovation. Think of ultra basic mobile devices that can stream desktop class software and lots of remote data when needed. Just dock it somewhere and get to work. I have no idea if there will be a big market for this (remember Continuum? Samsung's efforts?) but that may well be in the cards.
  • Imagine using a Surface Pro X, Go 2 LTE or Pro 7+ LTE or even a phone and still having access to 3D modeling or engineering software while in the field. You don't need to carry around a big mobile workstation with poor battery life. XCloud already enables this with games so you don't need a powerful GPU to run the latest games. You'll still need some kind of OS to run on your device but all you need to access your cloud desktop is a web browser. I would prefer some apps and user data to remain on device in case you lose connectivity. That can be synced using OneDrive. The RAIL/VAIL work that went into WSLg now enables cloud applications to run and be seen just like local applications. It's a game changer for enterprise because it makes using remote applications seamless.
  • Why would you use a Windows machine at all then? You could use something much lighter and simple while not losing the capabilities of Windows. This sounds like it could be the end of Windows hardware some day, and eventually Windows at all.
  • Because if Internet connectivity goes down, your light and simple dumb terminal is effectively a dumb brick. It's about balancing online and offline computing capabilities.
  • In a word... Wow!
  • Could have used this when I was teaching chem labs online and needed students to install the stats graphing software to analyze their data. Spin this up for two weeks, then turn it off until next term.
  • @Lee McPherson ... you might be just doing just that in a few weeks... that's all i'm sayin' as it's far too depressing.
  • I feel like this is the actual purpose of this service, allow schools/businesses to provide streaming access to much more powerful systems than students/workers have available without actually having to shell out the dollars for the expensive machines.
  • And OPEX vs. CAPEX spending too.
  • Isn't it more of a branding for something you could already do with Azure Virtual Desktops?
  • I think so, but I think it's also supposed to be more ambitious and more integrated/seamless. I think of their previous cloud virtualization efforts as leading up to this. There may well be a large market for always connected thin client devices that are 100% cloud. Much of the power and all the data is remote. I think it opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of form factors. I make no bets on whether it will pan out but it seems promising.
  • A VM is not the same as a managed service.
  • Terminal Services for the 21st Century. MS hosted rather than spinning it up yourself.
  • Well, Surface Duo
  • Is my Xbox or my kids Xbox a full on windows 11 machine now? Imagine a home version to setup pcs on xbox series S!
  • If they did a consumer version for Xbox users with keyboard/mouse that could save a lot of landfill e-waste for Xbox 1's being potentially retired
  • Not a new concept, except maybe for Microsoft. I wouldn't expect enterprise clients to go for it unless they control the cloud space (very tightly). And the best thing about Windows was it being local. Windows has thrived because it was local and personal. Of course, if this saves a business some money, then all else can be forgiven. (Is that likely?)
  • You think they've gone into this blindly without talking to their enterprise clients?
  • This is designed to let their enterprise clients to switch to other platforms and have access to Windows until they finish the transition. Microsoft is building a bridge off the Windows island.
  • Small Businesses have been clamoring for this moreso then Enterprises. Think working from home. Law firms for example want this because in a BYOD environment, that would require employees to work with information locally on their PCs. But with this, they could spin VDs with important information sitting with their controlled cloud or On Prem Infrastructure. No needing to setup Group policies, or Intune, and on the other side, Employees can more freely use the devices they want
  • Virtual machines and even virtual Windows machines have been available for years from Citrix, AWS, and others, but the way it has been packaged and sold in the past was completely different. We don't know the licensing terms yet, but MS has been pretty consistent in their cloud service models. This will likely be an extension to Microsoft 365, just like Office, Azure AD, Teams, and now you can also have a PC with your desktop anywhere, won't matter what computer you're on. Microsoft will keep the OS up to date and keep all the software installed, locked down or open for the user per the Enterprise's security preferences. There has NEVER been a service packaged like that before. Yes, the technology is not radically different, but the combination of the tech + business model + UX is entirely new.
  • I knew it was just a matter of time before the PLATO system was reinvented. I remember working on one of those in 1974. Remember, "Cloud" is just "somebody else's computers" that you are renting time on.
    You know, TIMESHARE? (That's been around since the mid-60's.) Also, IBM invented the VM/CMS operating system in 1972 to maximize the utilization of their System/370 OS. So the use of multiple VMs running separate OSes on a VM Host is old-school stuff.
    (The guy that wrote VMWare for x86 in his basement worked on VM/CMS systems for IBM.) Still, this will make Enterprise CIOs deliriously happy, and their CFO's too (they love consistent, easily projected year-to-year IT budgets as opposed to constantly shifting hardware depreciation/purchase cycles.) No more need to buy full-powered new systems every 3-5 years for the drones. Just use what they have as terminals to the Cloud PCs. Only need to buy laptops for the executives and sales staff.
    The issue will be what to do with Engineering staff. My company works with WVDs right now and getting GPUs to work in them (for CAD, FEA, etc.) is a major PITA that even Microsoft has not figured out yet.
    And no, that is not how XCloud works. Those are dedicated XBOX blades with full XBOX hardware in them, not VMs. We shall see.....
  • Microsoft probably has racks of boards with workstation GPUs for higher-specced cloud desktops, the CAD/FEA/3D equivalent of running XBox hardware. You don't have to worry about GPU VM passthrough because everything is remote. Your computer is just a slightly smart terminal that takes inputs and has a display.
  • Did you read my post? GPUs don't work properly in WVDs (Windows Virtual Desktop) right now. Microsoft can't get them to properly function, even with dedicated GPU hardware due to the way Azure moves VMs and Disks around dynamically. Getting the GPU resource to stay properly connected as Azure moves the CPU/RAM/DISK components dynamically to balance "cloud" resources is a major PITA and results in dropped functionality and greatly reduced performance unless you lock all the resources to a single VM instance, which is prohibitively expensive in their current per-VM billing.
    And if you want it to move dynamically between regional Azure NOCs in your tenant (say from US to EU) forget it. No way for this to function at this time.
    Will MS solve this issue? I don't see how without going the dedicated GPU/Blade route like they did with xCloud, and that is EXPENSIVE to rent on a Enterprise basis where the hardware is dedicated to your company as opposed to xCloud where anyone can use any blade at any time.
    They are making strides in the app-streaming arena right now, but this dedicated Workstation-class-GPU issue is not going away any time soon.
    We shall see.
  • I did read your post. Why so prissy? There's nothing stopping Microsoft from having premium Microsoft 365 instances with the CPU, GPU and RAM on the same physical board. Storage can be from a dedicated high-speed pool instead of being on the same board so you don't have to dedicate a complete machine to one client. If they can do it with XBox blades for XCloud, it can be done for graphics workstation hardware too. It's just a matter of customers being able to pay for it.
  • My Clients have been waiting for years, hopefully this delivers as an easy turn key DaaS solution
  • If this allows me to turn my TV into a Windows device via the TV's browser, then I'm onboard.
  • It's WSLg but with the client app running on Azure instead of a local WSL Linux distro.
  • Wonder how well this will run on a raspberry pi…
  • On security front, Which scenario will be most devastating to enterprise.
    1) Bad actors using a hacked or stolen high level login credentials to disrupt a company in current Windows OS model
    2) Bad actors using a hacked or stolen high level login credentials to infiltrate Windows Cloud? I would say infiltrating windows cloud will be more devasting, but a centralized Os reset for enterprise will make it way less painful and better option.
  • Dosen't see the point of first get OS to run the computer for be ablet to stream the OS. Have like Windows 11 for stream Windows 11 dosent feel like worth the buck, but can come to use for Linux users and other OS some need access to Windows.
  • I can see it as advantageous if someone has a basic Windows laptop, but needs to do some seriously heavy computing for work, this way their machine doesn't need the raw power, it just connects to the one that does.
  • Exactly this. You may like the Surface form factor but sometimes you need more power. But only sometimes. Hey, that's me!
  • A Pro X running CAD, FEA, BI and analytics stuff? Yes!
  • Larry Ellison must be grinding his teeth: MS is reviving the NETWORK COMPUTER model he tried to kill PCs with. Where he failed was that NCs cost the same or more than PCs because they needed the same grade of components. Not so here.
    Win365 can run on a $50 tablet, a $100 Stick, a $200 microPC, $300 Laptop.
    It can run on ARM, ATOM, Celeron, or even proprietary hardware as long as it has a modern grade browser.
    It can run on MACs, Linux, and proprietary OSes.
    Most importantly, it can run on 10 year old PCs. What MS is doing is extending the reach of WinTel apps everywhere.
    Partner developers should be licking their chops.
    And in the process they are taking on the (increasingly heavy) burden of maintaining and securing those systems from attack. Yes, they are intentionally turning themselves into a magnet for online thugs.
    They have also been buying up cloud security specialist companies lately. They know what they're getting into.
    Security is a big part of the Win365 value proposition.
    So is account scalability: a company/school system can standardize on a low level hardware platform (ideally, ROM-based, with biometric authentication) for all users, from the lowest level to the highest. (We'll probably see new high security client Hardware coming for this.) Big savings for organizations that consumers wouldn't be realizing. Startups will love this. Finally, in the era of WFH an office environment that travels seamlessly adds value. Four days at home, one at work? No problem. Road warriors can have equal security everywhere. It'll find customers. They're not doing a consumer version because consumers won't see gains anywhere as big. But for a lot of business this will solve multiple problems. And coming at a time of semiconductor scarcity anthing that extends the usable lifetime of desktop hardware is welcome.
  • Sounds like the end of Windows hardware. Whole deal with the complexities of Windows when this exists?
  • Somebody who needs a *personal* computer.this
    Somebody who cares how they spend their money.
    (Win365 pricing just came out. Look around right here. $1 a day, the example listed, is just fine for corporations. But for a home user, for example, a year of Win365 is about the price of a low end laptop or desktop system. Which they can use for years and years; a minimum of 3-5 if they're careful.) It's for organizations not consumers.
    When the Pandemic hit, and businesses needed tools for remote meetings and comunucation, MS lucked out because they've been working on exactly tgose tools going back two decades and more, to MS TEAM MANAGER. Now that organizations have learned there is value for them *and* the employees in hybrid work settings, Win365 offers them a consistent, high security, location and hardware independent, environment.
    Perfectly timed. Thing is, individual users don't need this.
    Do you need to take your Windows desktop everywhere you go?
    No many people do.
    The point of a consumer PC is "buy once, use for a decade ". More or less.
    There's people running Win7 and Office 2010 out there. Lots of them.
    MS isn't releasing this for consumers because it doesn't make economic sense.
    Even Microsoft 365 (nee Office 365) isn't for everybody.
    Ditto for Gamepass. MS wants everybody's money and the way to get there is to offer different Options for different people, not try to "pantyhose" everybody with a single solution. (Which doesn 't actually work for pantyhose, much less computing.)
  • You could buy a cheap Chromebook and use Microsoft 365 for Office and line-of-business applications.
  • Win365 will HAVE to offload the 2-factor authentication to the terminal for this to remain secure.
    That is the entire idea of TPM 2.0. You offload the encryption keys+data to a secure HARDWARE chip on your PC so that data never travels across the network where it can be snooped. It doesn't matter if it's PIN, or Biometric, the data never leaves the local hardware to remain secure (only the HASH values do.)
    They will use Azure AD and 2FA of some kind, but if that data (as opposed to the Hash value) traverses the WAN it's not secure anymore.
    This is why W11 requires TPM 2.0 to keep that 2FA data secure locally on the PC to prevent identity-spoofing.
    So, there will be a requirement for the system to support 2FA somehow.
  • This might sound great if you can use it on Android through Desktop Mode, but not all places have a constantly stable Internet connection in the first place. Being cloud-based, the chance for it to run offline can be almost impossible. I definitely learned that the hard way with my Chromebook experience before and I don't want to deal with it anymore.
  • Where are you working that doesn't have a stable internet connection in 2021? Seriously?
  • Stable and fast wifi continuously is usually only near the cities (at least outside the US), and you can also have lag if someone else is streaming some videos on your network or such (youtube, Netflix etc).
  • 1- This is for organizations.
    2- STARLINK is for organizations, too.
    3- MS, "curiously" was the first big company to partner with STARLINK for Azure server sites.
    4- Win365 runs off Azure. Given MS has been offering cloud computing and cloud gaming for a while, they "probably" have a pretty good idea of what it takes to deliver consistent, stable games sesions and desktops. Of the two, I suspect the former is a lot more demanding. At a minimum, lets wait for the first reviews.
  • There's a Microsoft YouTube video that shows Win365 sessions running in Nunavut, Canada using a satellite connection.
  • There is still a whole world out there that isn't covered or still have issues with connectivity, even in the US and Europe.
  • There's no way this product isn't targeting rich-country urban and suburban university-educated workers. Those people have great internet.
  • Per MJ Foley at ZNet "[A] Windows 365 Business SKUs that showed it would cost $31 per user per month. This is for the 2vCPU, 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage version for customers with up to 300 users. This particular SKU supports the desktop versions of Office apps, Outlook and OneDrive; the desktop version of Microsoft Teams; Visual Studio, Power BI and Dynamics 365; and to access and manage Cloud PC virtually." There will be other SKUs, of course, but this look likes something that could suffice for a wide swath of non engineering type users.
  • Windows and Office apps, Outlook and OneDrive; the desktop version of Microsoft Teams; Visual Studio, Power BI and Dynamics 365 in 4GB? Dual CPU? AND streaming? This is a joke, right?
  • That's the BASE offering.
    If all you do is emails and Teams Meetings and the occasional Office document it is "sufficient".
    For anything else it is too small (especially the RAM.)
    MS will have increasing tiers of systems specs up to 8 vCPUs, 32 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of "system" disk, but of course this will be SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive to rent, say 3x the monthly charge ($100/month.) This will be for the analyst/engineer-type worker running big spreadsheets/DBs/non-CAD Engineering apps. You get what you pay for.
    Considering that an entry-level workstation PC for that kind of worker is about $2500 it's not too bad since you can have that person work from home on their own equipment. The recovered costs of remote workers is significant; No desk, office, heating, cooling, power, water, restrooms, parking, security, etc. It more than pays for that monthly rental fee. On top of that, the worker is happier (generally) with no commute (HUGE savings) and better life balance.
    MS will make a TON of money on this if they can get it right. It also avoids all the security nightmare of BYO hardware in the office. Nothing is kept locally on the "terminal" everything is in the secure cloud storage, and it works no matter how crappy the local network is at the worker's home (very small bandwidth requirements.)
    Also, you offload ALL the patching/upgrading/and maintenance costs to Microsoft. Another huge savings.
  • It's going to be big for smaller businesses that can't afford to keep buying and managing the latest computing hardware for workers. Just issue a decent low-end laptop or go BYOD and load an instance with all credentials set up, all shared files and task management ready to go. There's no IT management required other than getting users Internet access. You could do work on an iPad if you wanted to. Just add a Bluetooth keyboard. $31 a month for Windows 365 + $20 a month for Office E3, that's all you need. And 4 GB RAM works fine for most office tasks.
  • I like the idea. Not sure if it'd work so well for me since my usage includes inking or hooking up a graphics tablet for drawing. But, I'd love to be proven wrong. Remote desktops are pretty cool for my day job as an analyst/engineer at least.
  • After Windows swallowed Andoid, MacOS and iOS customers are now covered by Windows. With 5G deployment, this is a good alternative for them. MS is really spreading them tentacles.
  • I have no idea why anybody would want to use this. Most people already have a Windows device. I just can't see somebody that use Chromebooks or Mac OS.
    IOS you just don't even need to stream Microsoft stuff it's already in the Apple App Store.
  • To me this seems like Microsoft is just trying to offer a stepping stone to organizations who are forced to use windows for legacy apps since they are not using SaaS/PaaS. It also sounds like Microsoft is just trying to kill Windows in the long term, at least the Windows of today, hoping that there is a more modern OS in the future. Obviously this is not intended for those who need a heavy duty workstation. Just meant for those who need to use it to connect to an AS400 from home in a secure way. This might just accelerate the death of Windows.