Net Platforms

Here comes Microsoft’s Cloud PC virtualization service

Microsoft’s ‘Cloud PC’ desktop virtualization service seems to be on tap to debut the week of July 12, which is the week of Microsoft’s annual Inspire partner conference.

A couple of months ago, I reported that Microsoft was looking like it would announce its Cloud PC service this summer. It now seems like next week, the week of July 12, is the announcement date, based on a placeholder session in the Microsoft Inspire partner conference session catalog.

Microsoft has scheduled a session called “What’s Next in End-User Computing” for July 15. One of the speakers in that session which is “about the newest Microsoft cloud solution for enabling hybrid work,” is Scott Manchester. According to his bio, Director of Program Management for Cloud Managed Desktops and a leader in the development of Windows Virtual Desktop, Remote Desktop Services, Second Screen Remoting, Multimedia, and Networking technologies. (I had been keeping tabs on Manchester since my original report on Cloud PC a year ago.)

My sources indicated months ago that Manchester was working on Microsoft’s Azure-powered Cloud PC service, codenamed “Deschutes.” Cloud PC is a virtualized desktop-as-a-service offering that will enable customers to use their own devices as thin clients which can access a remote Windows desktop and use software like Microsoft Office. Microsoft plans to sell Cloud PC as a managed Microsoft 365 experience at a flat per-user price, sources have said. This is an important difference from existing Windows Virtual Desktop (now Azure Virtual Desktop) pricing, which revolves around Azure consumption.

A leak last year indicated that Microsoft might plan to sell a few different Cloud PC subscription options (originally referred to as Medium, Heavy and Advanced — each offering a different amount of CPU, RAM, and storage). Cloud PC is in private testing with a number of organizations, I’ve heard.

As a fairly recent Microsoft job posting noted, the Cloud PC service would allow managers to provision cloud-hosted PCs. “It also seamlessly allows endpoint managers to instantly provision cloud-hosted PCs and manage physical and virtual devices through a unified portal and a fixed and predictable price,” said the job posting. (Microsoft subsequently rewrote that  job posting to remove Cloud PC references.)


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