Microsoft introduces Windows 365 as a cloud-based PC service

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“Everything is headed to the cloud.” While that phrase has often been used to describe the disruptive effect that cloud computing has had in recent years, it is fairly true and now Microsoft has introduced a new cloud-based service in the form of Windows 365.

Announced at its annual Microsoft Ignite conference this week, Windows 365 is aimed at businesses in particular, as the nature and location of work has changed during the pandemic era. The company is billing it for the hybrid work environment specifically, allowing compatible devices to stream access to Windows 10 or Windows 11 (when it lands later this year), via a virtualised web browser.

“Windows 365 combines the power and security of the cloud with the versatility and simplicity of a PC to help teams and organizations be more agile and productive,” explains Microsoft. Windows 365 will therefore create a remote desktop environment for employees, with Microsoft noting that the cloud-based nature of the service will make things much faster.

“Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience,” boasts Wangui McKelvey, GM for Microsoft 365, one of the company’s other cloud-based services announced back in 2019. The company also notes that the quick boot functionality will be available across a number of device ecosystems, including macOS, iPadOS, Linux and Android hardware.

“You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices,” McKelvey adds.

The new service is slated for availability to organisations comes 2nd August, with two tiers – Business and Enterprise. Both iterations will be run via the Azure Virtual Desktop, with 12 different Cloud PC configurations ranging from single CPUs to eight CPUs, as well as 2GB and 32GB storage to 32GB RAM and 512GB storage.

It remains to be seen what configurations will be made available locally, but given that we have Azure data centre presence in the country, we’re anticipating the full suite to be on offer.

Pricing information, however, is in the offing, so it is unclear at this stage what interest in the service there will be. If the total cost of ownership can be shown to be less, there may indeed be some interest come 2nd August.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.