Microsoft announces Windows 365, a subscription service for Windows 11 in the cloud

Microsoft announces Windows 365, a subscription service for Windows 11 in the cloud

At its Inspire partner conference, Microsoft is announcing Windows 365. Indeed, it’s exactly what it sounds like; it’s a paid subscription service for Windows. But let’s get one thing out of the way. It’s not for consumers. This is a business product that’s going to let you stream Windows 10 or Windows 11. It’s like what Microsoft did with Xbox Cloud Gaming, but for productivity.

Of course, the first question is about why anyone would need anything like this. After all, your PC already runs Windows, right? The answer is that it allows you to run the same installation of Windows, but from any device. It’s almost like a remote desktop, but if the desktop was on the Microsoft Cloud. In fact, the company said that Windows 365 is built on top of Azure Virtual Desktop.

Tablet, laptop, and desktop showing Windows 365

Microsoft is calling it a Cloud PC, and yes, we’ve heard that name before. There have been plenty of leaks and rumors around this. Cloud PC is meant to be a new category for running a full PC in the cloud.

The service is for businesses of all sizes, and that’s a key point. Businesses don’t need to hire someone with virtualization experience for this to work. It’s meant to be easy to set up. If your business is too small to afford an IT department, you can still make use of the additional security and manageability that you get from Windows 365.

The whole point of it is that it’s just Windows, and it acts like you’d expect Windows 10 or Windows 11 (when it’s available) to act. You can use all of the apps that you’re used to, and you can use them in the way that you’re used to. Customers can also choose the size of their Windows 365 installation, as pricing will be on a per-user-per-month basis.

Windows 365 window panes

Microsoft also talked up some companies and organizations that are already excited about the service. The Government of Nunavut, a territory in Canada, has to send devices to its 3,100 full-time workers and 3,000 contractors. Everything has to be flown because there’s no road, so it’s an expensive process. With Windows 365, that can be done in under an hour.

All of this was developed while employees were working from home, of course. That’s where ideas like these came from. So many businesses have employees working remotely, that this ends up being a better solution, and one that’s just easier to manage.

Windows 365 is going to be available on August 2, and you can learn more about it here. There will be two SKUs at first: Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.