PCs in the cloud with Windows 365
Windows 365 is a new service that creates Cloud PCs
Microsoft is putting Windows in the cloud. Windows 365 is a new service that will let businesses access Cloud PCs from anywhere, streaming a version of Windows 10 or Windows 11 in a web browser. While virtualization and remote access to PCs have existed for more than a decade, Microsoft is betting on Windows 365 to offer Cloud PCs to businesses just as they shift toward a mix of office and remote work.
Windows 365 will work on any modern web browser or through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app, allowing users to access their Cloud PC from a variety of devices. “Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience,” according to Wangui McKelvey, a general manager for Microsoft 365. This instant access lets workers stream their Windows session with all of the same apps, tools, data, and settings across Macs, iPads, Linux machines, and Android devices. “You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices,” explains McKelvey.
Windows 365 will only be available for businesses when it launches on August 2nd, with a per-user monthly subscription cost. Microsoft is not detailing exact pricing details until the service launches next month, but Windows 365 is designed for one-person businesses all the way up to enterprises with thousands of employees.
There will be two editions of Windows 365: Business and Enterprise. Both are powered by Azure Virtual Desktop, and individual Cloud PCs can be configured with a single CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage at the low-end, all the way up to eight CPUs, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Microsoft is offering 12 different configurations for both Windows 365 Business and Enterprise, and businesses will be able to scale processing power so there will be lots of options to choose from.
Businesses will be able to create Cloud PCs within minutes and assign them to employees, avoiding the need for dedicated physical hardware. That could be appealing for many businesses hiring remote workers or even temporary contract staff that need to securely access a corporate network. As your entire Windows PC is in the cloud, employees don’t need to navigate VPNs or worry about security on personal devices.
The pandemic accelerated work on Windows 365, and Microsoft’s broader focus on hybrid work. Microsoft has been steadily improving Microsoft Teams over the past year and laying out its vision for the future of meetings, remote work, and more.