Microsoft’s looking into offering a version of cloud-based Windows 365 for consumers

Kareem Anderson

Windows 365 Commerical

A new subscription-based version of Windows 11 could be coming to consumers soon based on internal documents from Microsoft.

While the intention may not be to go back to charging consumer-level customers directly for Windows yet, it does appear Microsoft is looking to make Windows 11 available via the cloud through streaming Windows 365 from PCs hosted in the cloud.

Microsoft’s ongoing battle with the US Federal Trade Commission over the fate of its $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard surfaced a document dated a year ago stating:

Move Windows 11 increasingly to the cloud: Build on Windows 365 to enable a full Windows operating system streamed from the cloud to any device. Use the power of the cloud and client to enable improved AI-powered services and full roaming of people’s digital experience.

Microsoft currently offers a very similar solution for commercial customers in Windows 365 and it would appear the company is planning to leverage that technology for this new offering for consumers.

Microsoftteams Image 11

The folks over at Window Central received documentation some time last year confirming Microsoft’s intentions to offer a consumer version of Windows 365 with distinct feature selling points that include family subscription models with parental admin privileges among others.

There was also placeholder pricing listed in the documentation Windows Central received that pegged the consumer version of a cloud-based Windows 11 at a reasonable $10 a month.

Perhaps due to its nascent development status then, early documentation is missing the supplemental marketing material that would help explain the purpose of a cloud-based Windows 11 subscription over free localized offering.

Microsoft has been working on transferring user account settings between PCs, as well as building in various tools into the Edge browser to retain users’ passwords, settings, credit card info and logins, perhaps, in an effort to ease consumers into a future where Windows is run on any device with minimum spec requirements, including Macs.

Windows 365 - multipoint - cloud PC

The Wintel collaboration between Microsoft’s Windows OS and Intel’s SoCs may never catch Apple’s M1 silicon development and user experience but a cloud-based Windows solution is one big hedge for Microsoft in a world where computing, productivity, and content creation continues to become democratized.