Microsoft Cloud PC is Coming in Spring 2021

Posted on July 20, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Microsoft 365, Windows 10 with 69 Comments

Mary Jo’s at it again: In addition to today’s news about Windows 10X, Ms. Foley today reported that Microsoft is working on a virtualized Windows desktop experience for thin clients called Microsoft Cloud PC. It’s expected in Spring 2021.

As she writes, Cloud PC won’t replace Windows and Office on rich PCs for the foreseeable future. Instead, this new service will be option for businesses that wish to deploy low-end PCs that will behave in many ways like thin clients, with software delivered from the Azure cloud.

“Microsoft’s vision of Cloud PC is that it is the only Microsoft 365-powered user compute experience delivered from Azure and managed by Microsoft, at a flat per user price,” a Microsoft job posting that Mary Jo discovered reads.  “Microsoft Cloud PC is a strategic, new offering that is built on top of Windows Virtual Desktop to delivering Desktop as a Service. At its core, Cloud PC provides business customers a modern, elastic, cloud-based Windows experience and will allow organizations to stay current in a more simplistic and scalable manner.”

As Mary Jo points out, pricing will be key. For all its usefulness, Microsoft 365 today is just too expensive, and the addition of virtualized application support could driver prices further higher (or simply require more expensive SKUs).

There are also questions about the timing. Foley says that it could happen as soon as Spring 2021, as noted, but as with anything else this far out, technical problems could trigger delays.

Anyway, we used to joke ruefully about “Windows as a Subscription Service.” And this looks like it will finally happen.

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