Microsoft is exploring a new business model for Windows, according to the company’s vacancy for a Principal Software Engineering Manager. Microsoft expects the Program Manager to shape a new future of low-cost Windows 11 PCs powered by ads and subscriptions (Windows 365?).
Before discussing Microsoft’s new low-cost PC initiative, let’s understand Windows 365 — Redmond’s new PC-as-a-service offering that basically allows users to stream a virtual Windows desktop to any of their devices. Windows 365 is a virtualization service and it is a new way to experience the operating system by paying for a subscription.
Windows 365 does not rely on local storage or hardware specifications. It can stream apps from the cloud storage and let users stream their apps, settings and the whole desktop to any of the connected devices such as Windows (of course), macOS, Linux and also Android from Google.
Windows 365 opens up many opportunities for businesses and enterprises and provides businesses with a cost-effective strategy.
According to the vacancy, Microsoft wants to “build low-cost PCs powered by ads and subscriptions”. This seems to indicate that consumers can buy cheap PCs, but they will see more ads within the operating system. In addition to subscriptions, this could also be a new revenue stream for the tech giant.
“[The] team will collaborate with Product Management and Design to envision and build new experiences aligned with the mission to drive cloud-first experiences to Windows, prototype to validate early thinking, and leverage ongoing customer data and research to drive our validate ideas,” the vacancy text reads.
The list further suggests that Microsoft plans to expand its Windows strategy and explore new business opportunities through a mix of software and low-cost PCs.
Windows 365 comes into the picture
As reported by Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet in 2021Windows 365 is known internally as ‘Deschutes’ and the service’s reports first surfaced in 2020. A number of leaks, rumors and job postings later confirmed the presence of a virtualization service under Windows branding.
Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 365 in July 2021 and it was later updated with Windows 11.
For those who don’t know, Windows 365 is built on top of Azure Virtual Desktop. However, Windows 365 is nothing like traditional virtualization. It has simplified the virtualization experience by allowing Microsoft to manage everything, including cloud hardware and Windows Updates.
It’s worth noting that Windows 365 is not a replacement for traditional PCs. It is a new and easy way to use Windows as thin clients by running the desktop operating system in the cloud.
In a way, Windows 365 could help businesses reduce hardware costs while still providing all the features to the employees, including access to the apps and services they need.