Microsoft could announce 'Cloud PC' next week at Inspire

Microsoft logo
Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft could announce a new Cloud PC service at its Inspire event next week.
  • Cloud PC allows people to use remote Windows desktops from client devices.
  • Placeholder session names and other hints suggest that an announcement could happen next week.

Microsoft could announce its new Cloud PC service at its Inspire event next week, according to ZDNet. While the company has not shared any specifics about Cloud PC, placeholder session names and other information indicate that an announcement is on the way.

On July 15, Microsoft has an event scheduled title "What's Next in End-User Computing (opens in new tab)." Scott Manchester is the director of Program Management for Cloud Managed Desktops at Microsoft. ZDNet also highlights that Manchester is a leader of development of Windows Virtual Desktop, Remote Desktop Services, Second Screen Remoting, Multimedia, and Networking technologies.

Sources told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley earlier this year that Manchester is working on the Cloud PC service. It's a virtualized desktop-as-a-service that lets people use devices as remote clients for Windows desktops. With Cloud PC, people could use software such as Microsoft Office. It's a bit like Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud), except for productivity rather than gaming.

One of the main benefits of the Cloud PC service would be that people could access a remote Windows desktop from anywhere with an internet connection.

Cloud PC will reportedly differ from offerings like Windows Virtual Desktop, which is now known as Azure Virtual Desktop, in terms of its pricing model. People will be able to pay a flat per-user price for Cloud PC, according to ZDNet, as opposed to the pricing model of Windows Virtual Desktop, which depends on how much a person or organization uses Azure.

ZDNet also reports that Cloud PC is already in private testing at several organizations.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • I'm intrigued how this will change computer buying habits in the future. Will it be cheaper?
  • Totally with you. There's not only the question of whether it will be cheaper, but also what possibilities it will open up. This could be really amazing. Lots of issues to sort through too, not the least of which is security.
  • Agree with you on this one, Andrew. I am curious to see where this goes. Will consumers care, or will this become mostly an offering in E5+ Microsoft 365 licensing? Will performance be good (I use things like Citrix and Remote Desktop, and it's OK on a LAN, but not really good enough for an ideal UX, and over WAN, it's obviously worse). On the other hand, maybe this is a way to lower cost, long-battery life thin clients...
  • This is huge. I am curious if Cloud PC is an entire PC in the cloud, or it allows you to also install apps in the cloud (or a combination of both). A lot will depend on pricing for me. If affordable, it could be cost effective to hang on to an old PC to just access a cloud PC with modern capabilities. A $1200 laptop used for 5 years is $20/month. This could also make sense for people who work from home but also travel for the job.