Cloud-hosted virtual desktops aren't anything new, but Microsoft, as a first party to Windows, hopes to do the competition better with Windows 365. Built on Azure Virtual Desktop, the subscription service will be available to businesses starting next month.
As the company describes, each user's personal or work experiences can be personalized down to the applications, data, and settings and streamed to any device including those on macOS, iPad, Linux, and Android. Booting will be "instant" with all of the above fed from the business's servers. Administrators will be able to delegate roles including licensing and management of hard or cloud devices to colleagues down the command chain. Multi-factor login authentication is also available.
Businesses will be able to subscribe to Windows 365 starting August 2 with an OS base of either Windows 10 or Windows 11 when it's available. Smaller operations can pay per user per month direct to Microsoft. No specific pricing has been mentioned just yet, though.
The company is pushing Windows 365 as an enabler of "Cloud PCs," boasting a successful test deployment across Nunavut's provincial government in Canada, and advertising it as a solution for distribution to interns and contractors in addition to full-board staff.
Where first parties are concerned, Google has long had a lead of sorts on this front with Chrome OS though with a limited ecosystem of productivity apps on its plate, Chromebooks have generally been more of a success in education than in business. On the other hand, Apple may continue to be content letting third-parties like AWS offer cloud-based Macs for enterprise, avoiding any strenuous work on cross-platform outreach.