Microsoft’s Cloud PC has been swimming under the surface with no significant splash. However, it seems now like the debut may only be a couple of months away, according to sources of ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. In her report, she says that Microsoft may be targeting an early June or early July 2021 launch date.
Cloud PC refers to a virtualized desktop-as-a-service offering. Microsoft’s annual Inspire partner conference will be in Mid-July this year.
Assuming Microsoft wants partners to help sell the Cloud PC. the timing of the launch to coincide with the event makes sense.
What can we expect?
Last year, Foley reported on the Cloud PC, codenamed ‘Project Deschutes’. She said it is an Azure-powered service that customers can use on their own devices as thin clients with access to a remote Windows desktop, with software like Microsoft Office. Microsoft plans to sell the Cloud PC as a managed Microsoft 365 experience at a flat per-user rate.
This is different from existing Windows Virtual Desktop pricing, which is measured around Azure consumption. A leak from 2020, indicated that Microsoft may sell a few different Cloud PC subscriptions (differentiated based on CPU, RAM, and storage)
A recent job posting on Microsoft’s Careers site lays out how the software giant plans to position the Cloud PC. The posting says it will allow all users to be productive from anywhere, on any device with a cloud-powered, secure, and updated Windows experience.
It will also allow seamless endpoint managers to provision cloud-hosted PCs instantly, using a unified portal and a fixed and predictable price.
Foley tried accessing the service a couple of times recently. She got a message that Cloud PC was not available and later when she tried again, got a message saying her organization did not have a subscription, which is an indication that Microsoft may be privately testing the product already.