Microsoft is taking a big step today with Windows 365. No, it hasn’t skipped from Windows 11 all the way to 365. This is Microsoft’s new cloud PC platform, which will allow businesses to run Windows desktops online for easy access from myriad devices. Virtualization and remote access are nothing new for Microsoft, but Windows 365 aims to streamline the process with unified management, pre-configured systems, and more for a monthly fee. We don’t know how much it will cost, but Microsoft says Windows 365 scales from small to large businesses.
Windows 365 will work with any modern web browser or via the Microsoft Remote Desktop app. Of course, if you’ve got Remote Desktop, you’re already on Windows. So, why would you want to access a cloud version of Windows on top of that? Microsoft presents this as a way for businesses to make important tools and data accessible from anywhere. Integrated analytics and diagnostics should make managing a large number of users on Windows 365 easier, too. Windows 365 clients even show up right next to physical computers in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager.
On a supported device, Windows 365 will launch instantly and provide access to all the same content no matter which screen you’re using. In one click, employees are inside a managed, secure system without mucking around with cloud storage boxes or VPNs. According to Microsoft, Windows 365 will work on Mac, iPad, Linux, and Android — notice anything missing? Microsoft seems to have avoided calling out Chrome OS as a supported platform. It’s unclear if that’s simply because Microsoft doesn’t want to mention the OS that’s eating its lunch at the entry-level. Chrome OS is primarily a browser, so it would be odd for the company to block it.
Businesses will be able to use Windows 365 to spin up different PCs (Windows 10 for now and Windows 11 when it launches) for different use cases. For simple office work, there will be a base config with a single CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The 12 available configurations go all the way up to a monster cloud PC with eight CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
Microsoft is only talking about Windows 365 for businesses, but this seems like the kind of service that could easily branch out to consumers. I’m sure plenty of people would be interested in running a cloud version of Windows 11 on an iPad or Android foldable. Add in some respectable gaming hardware, and Microsoft could really be onto something. We can only hope.