Microsoft has announced a brand new 'cloud PC' product, which allows users to stream a Windows desktop anywhere.
It’s being sold to businesses to start, capitalising on more companies moving to hybrid working systems that combine remote and office work. This is why it’s largely being marketed as a “hybrid Windows for a hybrid world”.
Windows 365 allows all sorts of devices, including Apple Macs and tablets to stream a full Windows desktop PC. This allows personalised Windows PCs to be accessed anywhere, bringing up users' unique apps and settings instantly.
Users can take their work from a desktop in the office to a laptop in a hotel room, making this a promising product for businesses.
So, how does it all work? Well, it’s actually similar to how gaming streams work. The computing simply takes place in a remote data centre which is then streamed to a device.
This 'Cloud PC' product will officially launch in August, but until then it will be available solely to stream a version of Windows 10, with Windows 11 becoming available once it launches.
Microsoft has not indicated yet if a personal product will follow, but it’s likely considering the company has been moving into subscription models for its primary services for the past decade.
This began with Office 2013, which launched alongside Office 365 which was its subscription version. Office 365 now makes significantly more money than its single purchase desktop-bound version.
Since then Microsoft has brought subscription models into all areas of their services, including gaming through their Xbox Games Pass service and streaming services.
Despite the popularity of Microsoft’s subscription services, there is still the downside to such services that their long term cost ends up being much higher than a one-off purchase.
This however is offset by Microsoft lowering the price of Windows for many customers and offering free upgrades from one version to another.
This 'Cloud PC' product highlights Microsoft’s determination to create technology that is suited to the hybrid working conditions most businesses are embracing.