We’re one step closer to Windows in the cloud

We’re one step closer to Windows in the cloud

I’ve been saying for a long time that Microsoft’s master plan for Windows is to move to a cloud-based desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) model. Earlier this year, I pointed out that Windows 11 was pushing us toward Windows as a Service (WaaS).

The march continues. At last week’s “Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work” virtual event and in his article, New experiences in Windows 11 and Windows 365 power new ways of working Microsoft has laid out the next steps in its vision for the Windows desktop of tomorrow.

I’ve already told you what this vision is, so I’ll let Microsoft’s Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay explain that this is “just the beginning of our Windows and Microsoft cloud integration.” Actually, this is not just the beginning. But it’s becoming impossible to pretend that Microsoft isn’t moving users from the old PC-centric desktop style to a cloud-based desktop.

As Wangui McKelvey, General Manager of Microsoft 365, explained: “We’re bringing together the power of the cloud and the familiarity of the PC.” How? Introducing soon, but without a specific date, the following features supported by DaaS.

Windows 365 boot: With this, you can set up a cloud profile that you can boot directly into. You won’t have to start Windows on a device first. That means you’ll theoretically be able to run WaaS on your Mac, Chromebook, or even a Linux PC. It is designed for devices that are shared between employees or for companies that allow you to bring your own device (BYOD) to work. So if you’re working from home, this allows you to use your home PC while keeping all your work in the cloud.

I can see this for companies that are understandably shy about letting their workers store company secrets on the same computer kids use to play “Fortnite.” As McKelvey points out, this allows you to use Cloud PC with Windows 365 with your credentials on any PC.

Windows 365 app: With this, you can pin your personalized cloud desktop to the Windows 11 taskbar and/or start menu for easy access.

Change from Windows 365: This new Task Switcher feature allows you to jump between your cloud PC and your local desktop.

Windows 365 offline: Finally, and almost certainly further, you’ll be able to work with your cloud PC image even when you’re not connected to the Internet or Windows 365 service. When you’re back in touch, you can automatically reconnect and resynchronize without losing any data. worked. (Google’s Chrome OS already has some of this capability.)

I can see the pros and cons of both old school standalone desktop and DaaS. Personally, I will always prefer a PC where I, not Microsoft, or anyone else, effectively control landscape and portrait. On the other hand, if I were a company, especially one with a lot of people working from home or employees with one foot in the office and the other at home with a hybrid model, I can see the appeal of DaaS.

There are many other DaaS alternatives, but it’s hard to bet against windows 365 thanks to Microsoft’s immense desktop market share.

The only problem Microsoft faces, as I see it, since I know most users aren’t as concerned about security, privacy, and personal control as I am, is cost. Cloud PC with Windows 365 is not cheap.

For example, Microsoft doesn’t tell us at all how much its next-gen Windows 365 will cost. But we already know that the Windows 365 Business PC in the cloud ranges from $31 per month, per user, to $66 per month, per user, while Pricing for Windows 365 Enterprise PCs in the cloud start at $33 per month, per user and go up to $66 per month, per user.

My wallet hurts just thinking about it.

But with Apple explores a monthly subscription plan for iPhones and iPads With what will likely be an even higher price tag, perhaps this is the future for both desktop and mainstream devices. Not one that interests me, but we’re already doing most of our work on the Internet anyway. I mean Microsoft 365formerly Office 365, Software as a Service (SaaS) is much more popular than the old Office Home and Student 2021.

Like it or not, it looks like the future of the desktop will really be in the cloud.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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