Microsoft brings Windows to the web browser

Windows 365 is the latest cloud solution from Microsoft.

With Windows 365, the service just introduced by Microsoft, businesses can run Windows 10 or Windows 11 on a web browser. While the service offering virtual PCs has been around for more than a decade, Microsoft wants to bet on cloud computing as businesses gradually shift to working remotely.

Windows 365 runs in any current web browser or through the Remote Desktop app, allowing users to access their cloud computing from a variety of devices. Employees with Windows 365 accounts can use the same apps, tools, data, and settings regardless of whether they're on macOS, iOS, Linux, or Android.

"It's easy to get back to where you left off, because the state of your cloud computing stays the same, even when you switch devices," said McKelvey, Windows 365 manager.

Businesses can start signing up for Windows 365 from August 2, paying a monthly fee. Currently, Microsoft has not announced the exact price, promising the service is aimed at all business objects, from 1-person companies to thousands of employees.

Windows 365 will have 2 editions: Business and Enterprise. Both run on the Azure Virtual Desktop platform, allowing to customize the configuration of each machine: from the lowest with 1 CPU, 2GB RAM and 64GB memory; to the highest with 8 CPUs, 32GB of RAM and 512GB of memory. Microsoft provides 12 configuration templates for both versions and businesses are allowed to evaluate processing power before making a choice.

What Windows 365 brings is not too different from the options available at the present time. Microsoft is also running a similar service, Azure Virtual Desktop, and Citrix has been offering remote desktops for many years now. The difference Microsoft wants to emphasize is in the convenience of use and management.

"Windows 365 will make a huge difference to organizations that have always wanted to try virtual machines but can't for a variety of reasons, be it because they're too expensive, too complex, or they don't have the experts ready for them," Mr. McKelvey said.

In just a few minutes, businesses can create virtual computers for each employee without the need for specialized hardware. This is very attractive for businesses that need to hire remote workers or even short-term employees but still need to securely connect to the organization's servers. Since all computers are in the cloud, employees won't need a VPN or worry about the security of personal data.

Although launched at a time when businesses are having a headache with remote work management, Windows 365 is a project that has been cherished by Microsoft for a long time, starting with Arcadia, a remote game streaming application that has been developed by the company. trial run in 2013. This project gradually turned to Windows 365, focusing on user friendliness.

"When building the development team, we bring together people who have experience with virtualization, but most importantly, we choose people who are familiar with Windows and the user experience because that's the norm," he said. Scott Manchester, software management director for Windows 365, shared.

The pandemic is the reason Microsoft has accelerated development of Windows 365 and expanded its focus on work into a hybrid between the office and home. Microsoft has gradually improved Microsoft Teams over the years, with a vision towards the future of meetings, remote work, and more.

Although Windows 365 is only for business right now, it's easy to imagine Microsoft providing a more configurable personal computer right in the browser. A startup called Mighty is offering a cloud web browser for $30/month for older computers. Windows 365 is perhaps the first step to a future where a computer is not needed to run Windows.

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