Microsoft launches Windows Virtual Desktop and Microsoft Defender ATP for macOS in public preview

Microsoft has announced several Microsoft 365 updates this morning that should help IT Pros reduce costs and increase security. First of all, Windows Virtual Desktop, the company’s new cloud-based desktop and app virtualization service is now available in public preview.

“Windows Virtual Desktop is the only service that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments in a shared public cloud. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes, with built-in security and compliance,” explained Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365.

You can sign up for the Windows Virtual Desktop preview on this page, and you can also find more information about the requirements on this support page. Microsoft didn’t say today when Windows Virtual Desktop will be generally available, but the company will use the public preview to scale its new cloud-based service. With the upcoming end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020, it’s also worth noting that Windows Virtual Desktop will provide IT Pros Windows 7 virtual desktops with free extended security updates through January 2023.

The other big announcement Microsoft made today is the public preview of Microsoft Defender ATP for macOS. The extension of the Microsoft 365 advanced endpoint security platform to non-Winds devices actually led Microsoft to rename Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to simply “Microsoft Defender ATP.”

The public preview of Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac is only available for business users, and Microsoft didn’t say if a consumer version would be available at some point. The macOS client will provide anti malware protection on macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, or macOS Sierra, and it will be updated though Microsoft’s AutoUpdate service that the standalone Office for Mac apps also use.

Microsoft Defender ATP customers can now apply for preview here, and the company shared more details on this separate blog post as well as the video below:

Other announcements Microsoft made today include the Microsoft Teams app now shipping with Office 365 PRoPlus, as well as the general availability of the Microsoft 365 admin center. The latter can be accessed on admin.microsoft.com and provides a common entry point for managing all Microsoft 365 services.

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