Microsoft launched Windows 365 on Wednesday, which is a new way for organizations to give employees access to cloud-based virtual PCs running the Microsoft Windows operating system. For example, users can use this service to access a virtual PC configured with a work application from their home PC or non-Windows device (such as an Apple Mac, iPad, or Android tablet).
Windows 365 came into being because the market for accessing business applications on any device is expanding, and due to the Covid pandemic, some employees are still out of the office. If the service takes off, it can help Microsoft improve the predictability of Windows revenue, rather than continuous growth as people upgrade from older versions.
Microsoft already has a product that companies can use to distribute access to cloud-based Windows computers. This service was once known as Windows Virtual Desktop, which has grown substantially last year and was renamed Azure Virtual Desktop last month.
But setting up and managing multiple virtual desktops across services can be challenging, and the cost is not always predictable.
Windows 365 is based on Azure Virtual Desktop and aims to reduce this complexity.
Microsoft’s vice president Jared Spataro said in an interview with CNBC on Monday that the experience of using Windows 10 or Windows 11 in Windows 365 will be the same as the experience in Azure Virtual Desktop. But the new service will provide administrators with greater control. Spataro said they will be able to see the so-called cloud PCs and physical PCs in Microsoft Endpoint Manager software.