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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 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.

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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.

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.

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