There are a variety of third-party solutions for running a Windows desktop in the cloud and Microsoft itself seemed quite hesitant to offer the same kind of user experience. However, it’s thought process must’ve changed as the company announced Windows Virtual Desktop, a new Azure-based service, which provides a full virtualized multi-user Windows 10 experience, in partnership with Office 365 ProPlus, on Azure.
According to Microsoft, Windows 10 on Azure will provide access to the Microsoft Store, as well as the usual applications that businesses have written for its users. Microsoft also noted, according to Tech Crunch, that the company desires to build a larger ecosystem with Citrix, CloudJumper, FSLogix, Lakeside Software, Liquidware, People Tech Group, and ThinPrint already working on integrations.
Aside from some applications mentioned above, the service with also include free Windows 7 Extended Security Updates. With the company constantly evolving, its rather odd to add that information in, but Tech Crunch believes it might be putting the information out to users as a way of getting more Windows 7 users to switch over to a more updated, modern operating system. Microsoft also stated that by deploying and scaling Windows on Azure with Office that it will only take a couple minutes and that the desktops will begin featuring all the built-in security and compliance features that many users would expect.
Microsoft showed off during a demo of how these virtualized desktops can also make use of the hardware devices such as a Microsoft Surface, with touch and access to Cortana via the built-in Microphone. The service will become available to Windows 10 Enterprise, as well as Education customers. The users will obtain access to their Azure subscriptions to deploy these desktops. In order to have additional storage and the virtual machines themselves, it will come at an increased price.
According to Microsoft, the company is “working hard to put the finishing touches on a public preview, which will be available later this year.”