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.


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