Followers of the inside dish on Microsoft — including the subscribers to Petri.com — have been buzzing about reports of a new service called Cloud PC. This new addition to Microsoft 365 will run within the Azure cloud environment and allow end users to install a Windows desktop-as-a-service thin client on myriad third-party hardware systems. It may be available as early as spring 2021.
At a time when COVID-19 has redistributed the modern workplace to home offices, Microsoft reportedly suggests, this “modern, elastic, cloud-based Windows experience will allow organizations to stay current in a more simplistic and scalable manner.” (That quote comes from a job description for a Cloud PC program manager spotted back in June by the eagle-eyed Mary Jo Foley.)
In other words, Cloud PC will continue Microsoft’s relentless 2020 campaign to shape the remote workplace — and smart marketers will do well to get ahead of this latest development on behalf of their buyers.
A few conversation-starters about Cloud PC:
Pricing and levels. According to reports, Cloud PC will be sold on a subscription basis in three flavors: Medium (“general-purpose, optimized for cost and flexibility”); Heavy (for “advanced compute needs optimized for performance and speed”); and Advanced (featuring “accelerated graphics optimized for scalability and data processing”). For a thin client, that’s an impressive range of options.
System requirements. For access to Cloud PC, users will be able to download Microsoft Remote Desktop Microsoft Remote Desktop app for 64- and 32-bit Windows PCs as well as macOS, iOS and Android systems. Microsoft is clearly hoping to round up as many remote, personal devices as possible behind one Windows-branded desktop-as-a-service standard that’s easy for enterprise IT teams to administer.
New security concerns. While we don’t yet have details about the security measures that will come with Cloud PC, enterprise IT pros can count on the same sort of security considerations that accompany other apps running in containers.
Bottom line: Cloud PC looks like it’s another key piece in Microsoft’s arsenal for the post-pandemic workplace. Start conversations with your buyers early to get ahead of the pack.