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Microsoft to launch Cloud PC service powered by Azure, according to report

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Surface Book 3 Logo Profile (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will reportedly launch a Cloud PC service.
  • The service would allow people to use PCs as thin clients for Windows, Office, and potentially other Microsoft software.
  • It was recently revealed that Windows 10X will stream Win32 apps through the cloud.

Microsoft could launch a Cloud PC service as soon as spring 2021. According to a report from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft will launch a virtualization service that will allow people to use PCs as thin clients for Windows, Office, and potentially other software from Microsoft. Right now, it's referred to as "Cloud PC" by Microsoft and it won't replace locally installed versions of Windows or Office.

Foley points to a job listing (opens in new tab) from Microsoft for a program manager working on "Microsoft Cloud PC."

"Microsoft Cloud PC is a strategic, new offering that is built on top of Windows Virtual Desktop to delivering Desktop as a Service. At its core, Cloud PC provides business customers a modern, elastic, cloud-based Windows experience and will allow organizations to stay current in a more simplistic and scalable manner," says the job listing.

Later in the listing, it specifically mentions Windows, Office, and Microsoft's "cloud-based management suite." It also references Azure and Windows Virtual Desktop.

According to the job listing, Cloud PC is powered by Microsoft 365, delivered from Azure, and managed by Microsoft. It will be sold at a flat per user price.

Foley points toward Microsoft's Scott Manchester moving to the role of partner group program manager for cloud managed desktops as potentially related to Cloud PC. Manchester's new role started in February, according to his LinkedIn profile (opens in new tab).

While Foley does not mention Windows 10X in her article, Cloud PC or a similar technology lines up well with our report on Windows 10X potentially shipping without native Win32 support. As outlined in our report, Windows 10X will support streaming Win32 apps through the cloud. With Windows 10 unable to run Win32 apps without the cloud, at least for some time, a service like Cloud PC could become vital for people who want to use certain apps and elements of Windows on Windows 10X devices.

The job listing from Microsoft is scarce on details, so we'll have to wait for more information regarding which systems Cloud PC will work with and how it will look exactly.

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

13 Comments
  • Not really a fan of the running Win32 apps in the cloud. I could have lived with their emulation layer. For the apps I use, the latency associated with cloud use will always be slower than having it run even emulated on-device.
  • That's understandable, but two things: 1) Most applications of this cloud-based or remote-based kind of system don't require low latency. Think of basic productivity apps. That's what (my guess) 99% Citrix users are doing. 2) XCloud tech means you may still be able to have a low-latency experience. Either way, these are exciting times.
  • I use a productivity app for translation, it's called SDL Trados Studio. I have used it on a remote PC (because it was on a client's PC and they wanted their work kept there) and I have also used that same app on my own laptop. There IS a noticeable latency despite the fact that it is essentially a text editor that just shows you the source language file and the box where you enter the corresponding translation. I would prefer to run that locally, also because where I live I cannot have guaranteed power/internet 24/7
  • Microsoft being lazy. What happens if you need to run applications offline? Big no to this and big no to subscriptions models. I'm not running my operating system on a rented server.
  • Then don't? You do have a choice.
  • So, just keep using Window 10, no harm/no foul/no problem?
  • This is awesome.
    I didn't think this sort of thing would come this soon (of course it could still be delayed) but the fact that they can even target 2021 is amazing.
  • how to change windows 10 sandbox memory size by this command (<MemoryInMB>value</MemoryInMB>) in configuration file.I am trying but not working. scripts like
    <Configuration>
    <VGpu>Disable</VGpu>
    <MemoryInMB>6,144</MemoryInMB>
    </Configuration>
    vgpu working but memory size not change. here I set memory size 6GB but always get 3.90 GB why ? Please help me.
  • Have you tried the value without that colon?
  • So Microsoft is stripping out Windows functionalities and adding them to the cloud on a subscription basis... Are we that dumb?
  • Yes but this is their idea of innovation with a little help from Google stadia and nadella, who's a Google at heart anyway. The entire thing will fail.
  • Nah, it would fail if it were targeted at consumers but this is definitely intended for business customers. Which means that it will somehow become become a major driver of revenue in a few years. 🤷🏻‍♂️
  • This already exists for business customers as part of Azure. And I don't think subscription pricing has been announced yet. And if it there is subscription pricing, I'm sure it will be optional.