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Microsoft readying Cloud PC service for Spring 2021

by Mark Tyson on 20 July 2020, 13:12

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 10

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Microsoft is not just working on cloud gaming service, it hopes to sell access to cloud PCs access to businesses. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley spotted a Microsoft job listing for a program manager to help develop this service, which will deliver Windows, Office and potentially other software, virtually. Microsoft insider Foley reckons that the Azure-powered Cloud PC service could be a commercial offering by spring 2021.

The job description for the program manager as part of Microsoft's Cloud PC team provides some insight into what the service will offer. "Microsoft Cloud PC is a strategic, new offering that is built on top of Windows Virtual Desktop to delivering Desktop as a Service," explains the listing, uploaded in June. "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."

The Cloud PC service will come under the Microsoft 365 umbrella, sold and priced on a per-user basis. ZDNet notes that the set pricing information is a key detail, as Cloud PC will not be tied to any Azure account subscriptions (an Azure sub/PAYG plan is necessary to use Windows Virtual Desktop).

Harking back to 2014, Microsoft was rumoured to launch a 'Windows 365' subscription service but obviously official insistence that this was not the case proved correct. However, some versions of Windows have subsequently been made available as part of various subscription plans.

Probably the closest thing to the upcoming Cloud PC initiative, set to launch in Spring next year, is the Microsoft Managed Desktop (MMD) subscription for business/enterprises. It includes Microsoft 365 (specifically, Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and Office 365 ProPlus), as well as Windows Autopilot, and runs on select Windows 10 hardware.

It will be interesting to see the full scope of Microsoft Cloud PC when it launches, with pricing, use examples across various platforms, and so on.

HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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Microsoft's cloud stuff is invasive enough. Onedrive is a monstrosity that I can not get to work without it interfering with my files.

I do not want my files to be in several locations at once, with a computer deciding which is the priority for synchronisation I can not control.

I want my files to be WHERE I PUT THEM and nowhere else. If I want a copy on a drive somewhere else, I'll choose what version I want to go there, when I want it to go there and if there is a need for routine backups, I'll schedule that. FOR THAT ONE FILE.

Onedrive taking my documents and synchronising them is not in the least bit helpful for me. I have a backup system in place but it insists on interfering. It once reverted a crucial spreadsheet back to an earlier version due to a conflict which it decided to resolve. It has done this twice, once losing a year worth of data (recovered from manual backups not affected by onedrive) and once losing a months worth because it decided I would very much like everything synchronising with a older version.

I do NOT want my documents to leave my PC unless I tell them to. And I really do not want my desktop to appear with a few things mission due to an incomplete sync. Once I spent ages looking for some stuff that had vanished, only for it to return when I figured it was onedrive, restored the dropped internet connection and let it sync again. It doesn't work properly, get it off my system.

If they can't do that without driving me nuts, do I really trust them to have my whole system under their control? The whole point of a PC is that it is personal. One size does not fit all and it's infuriating enough when they fiddle with things and move settings into a completely different location. It's like your mum coming into your bedroom and moving everything because it “looks better to me like this”. Except when MS do it, it renders it impossible to find a technical step by step guide which isn't out of date. You used to be able to search for "touch screen calibration windows “. Now you search for ”touch screen calibration windows 10" and it could be related to a completely different version of the OS and be a totally irrelevant guide.

Having them fiddle with stuff under my nose on my own PC is bad enough, imagine if I gave them total control?
Well, barring any rants misunderstanding the scope of cloud PC as a service…

Microsoft has been needing to do this for a while, Citrix and VMWare vRealize automation and other related services have already made desktop as a service a reality.

I know of two large multinational businesses that have homogenised to a massive data cluster in the UK and everyone worldwide just has a citrix frontend receiver. No global maintenance costs except plug and play PXE boot HP EliteDesks, no follow the sun support in every region on premise. But they could do that because the IT budget is larger than most businesses yearly revenue.

Microsoft doing this is going to be welcome for small/medium businesses who want to save on hardware costs and already looking at Azure investment.

Personal use, i don't see that taking off.
Yeah this reads more as a ‘web based’ virtual desktop, maybe with limited software, or a web based thin client than anything else.

I've also read about windows x being turned into essentially a chromebook on the low end without any support for x86 containers which is being kept for the high end supposedly…. nothing like confusing things even more MS…. having said that, windows x being ‘web only’ and a cloud pc service might actually be a viable option for some people/businesses. It wouldn't be for me but with a lot of the current generation primarily being used to things like the iPad, it doesn't exactly bode well for the ‘power user’ types on desktop sadly.
I wouldn't touch a cloud based service with a stick covered in poo, never mind let it anywhere near my pc
They might have to be wary of Pelicans flying into them.