Microsoft is taking on Chromebooks with Windows 10 'Cloud'

As Windows Central exclusively revealed last week, Microsoft is working on a new Windows 10 SKU under the name "Windows 10 Cloud", but info on what it is were unclear. Now, a report from ZDNet has unveiled that Windows 10 Cloud is actually more like Windows RT, being a UWP-only SKU of Windows with the goal of tackling Chromebooks.

Windows Central can confirm that the Windows 10 Cloud SKU, for the most part will look and feel identical to any normal Windows 10 SKU. The only new thing that Windows 10 Cloud will bring to the table is the fact that it won't be able to run normal apps downloaded from the web, as everything will be routed through the Windows Store, similar to Windows RT.

This is Microsoft's attempt at tackling Chromebooks, and another chance at building a Windows RT that hopefully works. Chromebooks are a serious threat to Windows 10, especially in the low-end portion of the market. Windows 10 Cloud is a great solution for providing a cheap, low-end SKU for hardware makers to bundle on low-end devices, that isn't susceptible to viruses from malware downloaded from the web. Think Windows 8.1 with Bing, but with a Windows RT twist.

Although its name implies there'll be a 'cloud' element, the Windows 10 Cloud SKU actually doesn't focus on the cloud at all. It's basically a normal edition of Windows 10 without the ability to run programs outside the Windows Store. There will be cloud features coming to Windows 10 however, which are currently in the works under the name Cloud Shell. This codename was reported on by Petri last week, but the thinking then was that Cloud Shell and this new Cloud SKU were connected. My sources say this is not the case.

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Rather, Cloud Shell is a collection of cloud-related features coming to all Windows 10 variants in a future version of Windows 10. So in short, Cloud Shell isn't tied to Windows 10 Cloud, but will likely benefit from Cloud Shell, as will other SKUs, once those features are ready. We'll be talking more about Cloud Shell and what it is, and isn't in an upcoming article. In the meantime however, what are your thoughts on the Windows 10 Cloud SKU basically being Windows RT 2.0? Let us know below.

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 and Threads