Few years back there were some very strong rumors of Microsoft working on a new SKU, Windows 365 where they were going to simply give Windows as a Service, a flat monthly subscription. Well, that never materialized. Until this job post on Microsoft Careers.
The job description says a lot.
In my understanding, this new service “Microsoft Cloud PC” will be built on top of Windows Virtual Desktop technology which is already available. Using a light or low spec PC, the user will be able to stream Windows and apps within through monthly subscription via internet connection.
Some may argue already that this is a bad idea because since streaming an operating system via internet connection may have latency and overall experience will be bad. I understand. My argument is, we already stream 4K content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, we already play multi player online games, and with services like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft upcoming xCloud – where we are going to be streaming video games as if it was a Netflix movie, then I believe OS consumption on the internet if not right away, will significantly improve overtime.
Not all regions and countries got powerful internet, and this service is of course not intended for remote areas or for countries who have capped bandwidth or poor connections. But even in a city like Nairobi where I live, we have very good, reliable internet connection with average speeds up to 20mbps and those paying well for to their ISPs, even 100mbps. I play online games and stream UHD content on daily basis and it’s pretty good.
Returning to Microsoft Cloud PC (MCP), the service in my opinion will be targeted towards businesses, of course, specially to mid size businesses.
I personally like the idea, and I also believe this will be part of the growing services of Microsoft 365 platform. Microsoft for sure will integrate their offering. I usually say, if on the ground Apple is king of great devices and services that are well stitched and integrated offer a near complete ecosystem, then Microsoft is probably the only Cloud provider who has got most of the pieces of different enterprise services integrated and like Apple, offer a great cloud ecosystem of enterprise mobility and services.
MCP integrating with Intunes, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, will provide a heaven for IT admins for better control and management for devices, OS, security and apps. MCP will also help businesses to bring down the costs of buying a beefed up PCs for power users.
With Microsoft Cloud PC, all users can get a similar clamshell/low spec devices with MCP, and depending on the user type, a frontline worker, a heavy Excel/reports creator, a designer, developer or an executive, the IT admins can buy the right MCP offering which will have different CPU, Storage, Graphics and RAM SKU options. And if a normal user needs an upgrade from a mid MCP SKU to a more demanding, no problem, the admin can simply switch the plan and the user within no time gets new power delivered via cloud.
Microsoft Cloud PC which is expected to release sometime in 2021, will be offered along the current setup that we already have, a good spec PC, running Windows and Office. I don’t see this setup going anywhere anytime soon. But MCP brings something new to the table that I believe, most businesses will be willing to try.
What do you think?