Microsoft Pauses Free Trials of Windows 365

Posted on August 4, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 365 with 8 Comments

Overwhelmed by demand, Microsoft has halted free trials of its new Windows 365 service so that it can better serve paying customers.

“Following significant demand, we have reached capacity for Windows 365 trials,” the Microsoft 365 Twitter account revealed yesterday. Microsoft director Scott Manchester added that the response to Windows 365 has been “unbelievable” and that Microsoft needed to “pause [the] free trial program while [it] provisions additional capacity.”

Microsoft announced Windows 365—previously known as Cloud PC—in mid-June and then released the service publicly this past Monday, on August 2.

Like Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365 provides access to Azure-hosted Windows 10 virtual machines (VMs) which are streamed locally to Windows PCs, and to Macs and mobile devices of all kinds. But unlike Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365 has a set per-user fee each month, which ranges from $20 to $162 depending on the configuration.

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Microsoft Pauses Free Trials of Windows 365”

  1. ikjadoon

    I always thought a benefit of the cloud was fast and seamless scaling.

    Surely Microsoft had the wherewithal to provision another 0.1% of Azure servers?

    Kind of like “Netflix is pausing free trials because we’ve run out of server capacity.”

    Well, we remember how the Windows 11 livestream went, so maybe I’ve spoken too soon.

    • winner

      Kind of like that OneDrive unlimited storage tier, and when people started using it, Microsoft said they were abusing it, and killed it.

      • hrlngrv

        Very good point.

        MSFT has a habit of underestimating free or no additional cost demand, and they have no qualms about unilaterally withdrawing such offers/services/products. Maybe a true indicator of MSFT's lawyers' abilities to waive liability for anything.

  2. murray judy

    I always thought a benefit of the cloud was fast and seamless scaling.

    That's true for individual users because the scale of the cloud is so much greater than the most demanding single user. But it's not true when rolling out new services, such as Windows 365, that support large groups of users. Clouds don't have infinite capacity and provisioning has to be managed carefully. Microsoft evidently saw unexpected growth in Windows 365 free trials.

    • hrlngrv

      The question is how many? That is, how many free trial accounts did MSFT expect, how many were actually requested? The difference between expectation and actuality would raise doubts about MSFT's ability to gauge demand. OTOH, if actuality were on the order of a few thousand, that'd lead to concerns about just how much capacity MSFT actually has to support W365.

    • mattbg

      Agree - how could Microsoft justify significantly expanding infrastructure simply to fulfill a surge of free trial requests when they knew that many of those trials would not result in sales?

      They'd be right to prioritize customers that are already paying for other Azure services because there's a greater chance of converting those people to sales of services.

  3. crunchyfrog

    Wow, they blew through those 50 free trial accounts already? ;)

  4. IanYates82

    This could be more artificial scarcity than real. Windows 365 would be its own business unit - under more personal computing maybe, with 365, than under Azure - and may therefore have to remit funds to the Azure team for compute used.

    There'd be provision in the budget for $x, and they've hit it.

    Sure they could increase $x, but if they're looking for good press they may be thinking (not necessarily correctly) that those who did sneak in will now feel privileged and evangelise more?

    Just a theory...