- Microsoft plans to make Cloud PC available for regular consumers.
- The service will offer access to a Windows 11 machine in the cloud rather than using a local version.
- This will be part of the Windows 365 subscription for consumers offering.
- It’s unclear when the service could be available for consumers.
Microsoft plans to bring its Cloud PC offering to regular consumers. According to a new report from Windows Central, the company has briefly revealed that it is working to bring its Windows 365 subscription service to consumers to allow regular users to stream their computing experience from a Windows 11 virtual machine hosted in the cloud.
Currently, Microsoft offers its Windows 365 Cloud PC service to commercial customers with access to Windows 11 and 10 devices hosted in the cloud. However, a new internal document (part of the Xbox dispute with the FTC) notes that the company wants to expand its Cloud PC offering to consumers.
In the document, the company notes: “Move Windows 11 increasingly to the cloud: Build on Windows 365 to enable a full Windows operating system streamed from the cloud to any device. Use the power of the cloud and client to enable improved AI-powered services and full roaming of people’s digital experience.”
According to the details, the company notes that the cloud experience will allow users to roam the desktop across devices easily and integrate with AI services.
Microsoft is already working on a deeper integration between Windows 11 and the Cloud PC service that allows users to seamlessly transition between the local experience and the virtual machine hosted in the cloud using the “Desktops” feature. Also, another feature in the works allows users to boot a physical computer directly into the device hosted in the cloud using a Windows 365 subscription.
The report also points out that this service could have a monthly price of $10, but the company still needs to finalize the Windows 365 pricing. Also, it’s yet to be determined if the service will be separate from the Microsoft 365 subscription.
It could also be the case where users can choose from different hardware configurations, making it ideal for gaming on low-end computers (or as an alternative to Xbox Cloud Gaming). The company may also offer virtual machines with different software configurations, including one that comes with the suite of Office apps without needing a Microsoft 365 subscription. Furthermore, Microsoft may even offer Cloud PCs running older versions of the operating system for backward compatibility.
The report points out that older internal documents that the company has also been considering a Windows 365 family subscription that includes the ability for parents to remote into their kid’s virtual machines to help with homework or join a game session.
The Cloud PC offering doesn’t mean that the local installation of Windows will eventually fade away. You will always be able to install the full version of the operating system on a laptop, desktop, or workstation. This will give users another option to access their desktops from anywhere without hardware maintenance or worrying about updates. Also, it allows Microsoft to offer its operating system in a subscription service.