Windows 365 will work similarly to game streaming – where the computing is done in a data centre somewhere remotely and streamed to a device.
That means all sorts of devices – including tablets or Apple Macs – can stream a full Windows desktop PC. It is being sold to businesses to begin with, as many firms move to a mix of office and remote working.
Microsoft is marketing the new way of using a PC as “hybrid Windows for a hybrid world”. The company says that every user’s apps and settings will boot instantly from any device – allowing personalised Windows PCs to be accessed from anywhere.
It will launch in August for business customers “of all sizes”, Microsoft said. To begin with, it will stream a version of Windows 10 – but the successor, Windows 11, will also be available once it launches.
There is no news on whether a personal product will follow. However, Microsoft has been moving towards a subscription model for its man services for nearly a decade.
Microsoft has also dramatically lowered the price of Windows for many customers. Where once it was sold on discs at computer stores for a significant cost, the company has offered customers free upgrades from one version to another for many years, and will do the same for Windows 11.