Windows 365 launches Microsoft's Cloud PC era
PCWorld|August 2021
How will Microsoft’s Cloud PC impact notebook PCs for business?
MARK HACHMAN

Windows 365 is Microsoft’s name for the Cloud PC, a new Microsoft service that will stream Windows in the cloud to Android phones, tablets, Macs, and more.

Windows 365, available to businesses starting August 2, was announced at Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft’s partner conference. The concept is simple enough: Just like you can now stream Xbox games from Microsoft’s Azure cloud (go.pcworld.com/azcl) to either your phone or your browser (go.pcworld.com/xbrw), now you can do the same for Windows 10 and eventually Windows 11. The Cloud PC won’t depend on local hardware to run Windows; instead, you’ll need a dependable, persistent Internet connection to reach Windows 365.

For now, Windows 365 will be a business offering, though you’ll be able to run it on personal devices—just like you can access your company’s SharePoint files via your own, personal, authenticated smartphone. Microsoft representatives said it will announce pricing as it moves closer to the August launch date, and it will be offered on a peruser, per-month basis.

Though Microsoft’s effort is groundbreaking for the company, it also follows literally decades of efforts by many companies to develop thin clients and virtualized PCs—all attempts to push computing resources off the PC and into the cloud. Larry Ellison’s Network Computer, Rajesh Jain’s NetPC and NetTV, and even Microsoft Azure’s own ability to spin up a virtual remote server are all examples of computing in the cloud.

It’s also another triumph for Microsoft’s virtualization efforts (go.pcworld.com/vrtf). Windows 365 and the Cloud PC is simply the next step.

HOW WINDOWS 365 WILL WORK

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