back to article Microsoft's Cloud PCs debut – priced between $20 and $158 a month

Microsoft has revealed the full range of options and pricing for its Windows 365 Cloud PCs, and The Register is not impressed – on price or performance. Your humble hack signed up for the base level of the service: a $20/month Cloud PC with a single virtual CPU, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The signup process was not slick …

  1. oldtaku
    Holmes

    Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

    $20/mo will get me a very snappy 4 GB RAM, 2 CPUs, and 80 GB SSD at DigitalOcean, who have a much, much more polished environment which makes it easy to deploy, hibernate, and remove VMs, group them, add volumes, tack on databases and extra storage, has great monitoring, etc. I'm sure you can get it even cheaper, but this is an example for a plush ecosystem.

    But Microsoft Cloud PCs are after the corporate customers who only know how to do Windows and Exchange and Office, are used to terribly clunky configuration, and aren't that concerned about price (to say the least). I'm guessing they'll do just fine with this.

    1. Lil Endian

      Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

      Also relating to the Vulture's comment "...help files seem not to be well-populated..." - I find DO instructional pages very good. They're concise and to the point. I don't think I've ever seen waffle or errors in any of their pages, and happily advise knowledgable users to use their services based on that alone.

      No, I don't have any affiliation with DO :)

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

      You can get pretty much the same on Azure for $30 per month - 64GB hdd rather than 80GB. The next size up is 128GB, and that will take the cost to $33 per month.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

      The proposition seems to be that you need to rent what is effectively a remote PC, probably with a lower specification than the PC (or, indeed, tablet) you already have in order to, er, achieve what, precisely?

      If all you have is a tablet, then presumably you can run Windows applications - but most people who need native windows applications are going to want a mouse and keyboard. If you already have a PC, the reason would presumably be something, something, security, mumble, corporate, waffle...

      Perhaps they might one day consider a more secure version of the system you already have so you don't need another one to make it work properly?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

        >If all you have is a tablet, then presumably you can run Windows applications - but most people who need native windows applications are going to want a mouse and keyboard.

        The proposition sounds good until you actually have to run say remote desktop into a Windows system from an Apple device and have to deal with the in-your-face keyboard and mouse differences...

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

        >Perhaps they might one day consider a more secure version of the system you already have so you don't need another one to make it work properly?

        Once they have got people brought into the subscription model, expect Windows 365 On-Perm Cloud PC to debut. Or is that the real name of Windows 11?

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

        > achieve what, precisely?

        Monetizing remote access.

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

        "The proposition seems to be that you need to rent what is effectively a remote PC, probably with a lower specification than the PC (or, indeed, tablet) you already have in order to, er, achieve what, precisely?"

        The idea is that businesses who currently allow their users to use their personal machines to work from home as long as they remote in to company-controlled boxes on which all the work is done could move those remote boxes into the cloud and save the annoyances of maintaining a room of desktops somewhere which someone has to maintain, reboot, etc. Which sort of works, but most of the places I know either have already issued their staff corporate laptops to use from home, aren't going to keep the workers at home anyway, or don't know (or care, but I hope it's know) about the security risks and allow their workers to do work from personal machines without a remote machine. Meanwhile, any company who is going to buy things for their workers to use as thin clients isn't going to need these; a cheap laptop costs about as much as the base level for this cloud PC for fifteen months and comes with double the RAM. So it's a solution for a use case that only a tiny group of people have and might not be great for that either.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

          "room of desktops"

          It would be a few servers with possibly horizon, or hyperv with terminal services vdi. No room of desktops. Maintaining a the desktops is updating a base image that they all boot / spawn from.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

            I'm not talking about an organized VDI setup. I'm talking about the companies who needed to abruptly switch from in-office to at-home last year but didn't have laptops. I understand that some of them used those desktops as remote desktops from employees' personal devices. That's the only situation where such a cloud computer might be useful, as anyone who already provisioned the servers for VDI already incurred the expense of that approach and wouldn't be switching until it becomes obsolete. Even then, it's not that useful, as stated in that post.

      5. Brad16800

        Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

        I did wonder the same thing. Seems like a product nobody needs as the majority of businesses are running Windows workstations with far better specs. Why run a virtual desktop from a desktop?

      6. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Not great pricing, but they'll get the Office people.

        but you still need another pc etc to run the PC instance on. so what is the gain here?

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    Simple decision actually

    HELL NO!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't M$ just cut out the Crap OS standing in the middle

    and plug straight in to their victims wallets?

    1. Flywheel Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Why don't M$ just cut out the Crap OS standing in the middle

      Yeah! They could sell you market a hardware card reader that used your credit card as a Smart Card that you'd use to login. Win Win!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why don't M$ just cut out the Crap OS standing in the middle

      You're not supposed to disclose the planned upgrade yet..

  4. redpawn Silver badge

    Best Idea Ever!

    To follow up on the theme, I cut holes in all of my pockets and covered my keyboard in old used chewing gum.

  5. AMBxx Silver badge
    Windows

    Nearly, but no

    I work exclusively on virtual machines running on HyperV. Much easier when I upgrade hardware to just copy the VMs across. That makes the whole idea of having a cloud PC that I can scale up or down appealing. Problem is the price - I'd need 3 or 4 of these so even at the most basic level it would be more expensive that an annual big PC upgrade. Even worse given that I upgrade every 4-5 years.

    The remaining appeal is the saving in IT management time. For any company that's able to measure such a thing is more likely to be able to run the infrastructure in house with their own staff.

    Maybe a mixed cloud and in-house option is the way to go? Cloud to provide scale when the in-house stuff is too busy?

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Nearly, but no

      You’d likely not want to run hyperv on these cloud pc’s as they are virtual and running on hyperv already. Yes you can run hyperv on hyperv but….

      Also at the cost you’d be better off buying your own tin and doing what your currently doing as you already mention.

    2. Lil Endian

      Re: Nearly, but no

      "The remaining appeal is the saving in IT management time."

      Perhaps I'm missing your point, but I can only see an increase in [IT management] support time, as now the client platform and the remote OS are points of failure.

      It was different in the old days with dumb terminals* where a client side issue was resolved by "swap out dumb terminal". (Obviously ignoring net connections etc, which is no different in either case.)

      It just seems like insanity to me to require a full blown local OS to access a remote OS that does the same thing.

      * Ah, I miss my VT330!

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Nearly, but no

        >It just seems like insanity to me to require a full blown local OS to access a remote OS that does the same thing.

        You're overlooking the piece of string that connects the two, I bet MS Cloud PC 's bandwidth requirements will be substantially more than Remote Desktop...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nearly, but no

        As far as I can tell, they moved the "dumb" bit to the keyboard..

      3. Dave Null

        Re: Nearly, but no

        Task: go build, deploy and operate an environment for secure remote working with a zero trust model.

        Challenge: you need to buy a boatload of laptops in a pandemic, you need to securely configure those and provision to remote users, you need to ship them out, you need to either do Azure AD Join on those so they can sign in for first time remotely, you need to manage those machines and patch them, you need something like SCCM to monitor state, deploy applications, you need to support all this infra AND the clients.

        Or, you assign a W365 licence to a user, and tell them to install the Remote Desktop app on any device they might already have or want to use, and get them to log in.

        Sure, you can roll your own (if you wanted to still go all MS you could build some AVD infra, you could go citrix etc) but for companies that want a simple, fully managed service - this is quite compelling.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Nearly, but no

          Not for your use case it isn't. Here's why:

          "secure remote working with a zero trust model."

          If you don't trust anything outside your network, you do not let your users use personal machines to remote into that network. True, they can't install malware directly onto your VMs, but malware running on their personal device can watch them type and capture the screen. That's great for getting credentials, exfiltrating proprietary data, gathering intel, or convincing the user to take steps that give extra access. Most zero-trust environments, if they allow remote work at all, have custom machines which require the VPN activated to protect against the local network as well. No chance you would use personal devices if you need that much security.

          1. solv

            Re: Nearly, but no

            Bang on - right there. +Gazillion upvotes please.

            I've a friend who also works in IT for a different business, and they have been pushing DaaS for a few years.

            I could never understand how they can convince people to fork out for a PC and Windows license twice.

            Plus - the security issue nobody seems to be talking about. Everyone is just drinking the koolaid and gonna jump on board with this - and wonder what went wrong when their business is completely pwned.

          2. mankymanningBS

            Re: Nearly, but no

            Surely you can pull your phone out and record the screen of a company provided device as well?

  6. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Chromebook plus cloud PC for all office staff?

    1. tip pc Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Good luck with that!

      1. iGNgnorr

        "Good luck with that!"

        Not least becuse a Chromebook has a broken keyboard as far as I'm concerned. ([Google developer thinking:] Oooh look, there's a key I don't use: let's remove it (becasue obviously if *I* don't use it, no-one does) and add a Google search key for those who can't figure out how to search Google any other way.

  7. PhilipN Silver badge

    New Idea! Network Computer!

    What do you mean someone tried it 25 years ago?

    Come on - "How many have been sold??!!" (to quote W. H. Gates III Esq),

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: New Idea! Network Computer!

      this periodic "circle back" to the big iron light client model is dizzying...

  8. Robbobarwick

    Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

    They go from BAD to WORSE !!!.

    Ransomware at O.S level in Windoze 11.....which will FAIL millions worldwide who cannot afford hardware "Upgrades" to run BIOS level security just to be able to run a system which allows their programs to work.

    And now an online (Easily hacked) Office suite costing even MORE money???

    They need to team up with Elon Musk and hitch a ride to mars... Clearly they're on another planet anyway.

    Openoffice and its derivatives do ALL that the Redmond rubbish does, plus nix systems are more secure at O.S level not requiring BIOS level security as the software that is coming up needs, simply because Windoze IS NOT SECURE enough in its own right!!!

    Defection from Redmond based offerings will be rife... Just as soon as the computing population realises there are alternatives that cost NOTHING ! and run as well, if not better...

    Good Bye Microshaft......Hello Ubuntu

    1. Lil Endian
      Pint

      Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

      They need to team up with Elon Musk and hitch a ride to mars... Clearly they're on another planet anyway.

      Thanks for that! Have one on me -->

    2. Anne-Lise Pasch

      Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

      So much wrong here I don't know where to start.

      First, Windows 11 runs fine without SecureBoot and TPM 2.0. They're pushing for it, but its not required.

      Google: bypass tpm install windows 11

      Online = Easily Hacked? I'm just going to walk past that. I'm sure you'll get on well with your bricks-and-mortar only bank, if you can still find one. Make sure you air-gap your ubuntu.

      Windows (spelled without the childish Z) has its issues. But letting security flaws fester isn't one of them.

      But I'm not sure you care about facts, so I'll stop with the thought that Free Software isn't free for enterprise, it still needs supporting. And that costs way more than the Licensing.

      1. Lil Endian

        Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

        Windows 11 runs fine without SecureBoot and TPM 2.0

        That may be true, but the links following your search advice involve hacking your own install. Not something many would be happy or capable of doing, and something that must be considered an unstable installation by extension.

        Online = Easily Hacked

        The likelihood of an individual's machine being specifically targeted for a hack as opposed to PaaS being specifically targeted are not comparable. The PaaS is waaaaaay more likely to be targeted intentionally.

        But letting security flaws fester isn't one of them.

        Here's my childish response: Ahahahaaahaaa!

        Now I'm walking away from that. Do your own research or remain in denial, your choice.

        ... And that costs way more than the Licensing.

        So once you're licensed you don't need support? Oh, wait! You do! So it's licence + support.

      2. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

        "Free Software isn't free for enterprise, it still needs supporting. And that costs way more than the Licensing."

        Well things may have changed since I hung up my mouse but where I worked we already had an in-house teams supporting the system, me being one of them, so the cost was already factored in. Then on top there were the afford said licensing costs courtesy of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and on and on.

        If a company can reduce the reliance of proprietary software and effectively switch to FOSS then there must be a saving. Both in terms of reduced licensing costs plus if they were using Linux greater stabilty.

    3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

      Re: "Defection from Redmond based offerings will be rife... Just as soon as the computing population realises there are alternatives that cost NOTHING ! and run as well, if not better..."

      I'd argue that the computing population is largely aware there are alternatives that cost nothing. Most of the population, rightly or wrong, don't care what OS their device is running as long as it runs the software they want relatively reliably and with minimal effort. They certainly won't want to have to download an Operating system, install it, set it up, find equivalents to the software they want to use (if what they want to use isn't available), and set that up.

      As for Windows not being secure enough, I think you are going back a couple of decades.. Windows in 2001 wasn't secure, and the situation didn't really improve until halfway through the Vista development cycle, when Microsoft, being stung by hundreds of new vulns a week in XP, hired a proper security team, who went through most of their code looking for vulns.

      Windows still has it's problems, but it *is* a lot more secure now than it was. Linux is, IMO, inherently more secure than Windows, even now, but it's not infallible. Nothing is. It's worth remembering that it being Open Source does NOT mean it's more secure, because it's entirely possible that someone will upload bad code into the repo for an open source project, and it gets missed by other maintainers, and it's also possible a security issue gets missed because there are only a few maintainers for the project, and they were all busy elsewhere. This happened with Open SSH a few years ago.

      As for firmware level security, I think that will inevitably come to any OS, because there are trojans that can run at a lower level than the OS, thus hiding themselves from any detection systems run on the OS.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

      "Good Bye Microshaft......Hello Ubuntu"

      So in short you're moving from Windows to the Linux distro that is known as "the Windows amongst Linuxes"?

      Well, at least you no longer have to deal with the nightmare that is Microsoft licencing, or product activation. I guess that's already progress.

      1. fargonebastage
        Devil

        Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

        At this point they're so cozy it's a hop skip and a jump to Microsoft Ubuntu

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Even MORE RANSOMWARE !

        Ubuntu does have some serious advantages, chiefly that it's the target platform for Steam and the help for newcomers to linux is excellent even if you will quickly realise it's limitations. Mint would be my recommended starting point today, and graduating from that to Manjaro. The latter is more powerful though a bit of familiarity with the linux ecosystem is needed to warrant it.

        What I would never, ever, want to do, is to put some potential linux user in front of a diatribe on why Slackware is l33t and everyone else shouldn't be allowed a computer.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Full circle

    The dumb terminal and remote mainframe are back, just vastly more resource hungry and without the reliability.

    It seems what goes around comes around (in this case after more than half a century).

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Full circle

      Apart from the fact that by the sounds of it, the numb terminal needs a machine MORE powerful than remote machine to run it at an acceptable speed.

      1. Esme

        Re: Full circle

        Heck, it needs a dumb terminal more powerful than the mainframes I used to operate many, many moons ago which supported hundreds of dumb terminals.. 8-}

      2. ssharwood

        Re: Full circle

        Scenarios that require a full-blown Windows desktop to run virtual desktops have always perplexed me.

    2. Smirnov

      It seems what goes around comes around (in this case after more than half a century).

      Remember Sun's slogan "the network is the computer" from the early '90s, which almost two decades later has been successfully repackaged as "cloud computing".

  10. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the Cloud PC resumed in precisely the state we left it

    Great, perhaps they can think about porting this feature to the desktop OS as well, as it's been missing from Windows for decades.

    Otherwise, a rather expensive way of playing "move the mouse, guess how long it will take for the mouse to move on the virtual desktop", or everybody's favourite, "restart the router AGAIN, my ISP's algorithm has decided for the fifth time today to throttle me for using too much data even though I'm on an 'unlimited' broadband plan."

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: the Cloud PC resumed in precisely the state we left it

      I can pause a VirtualBox VM, save the state, and resume it later. Same effect.

      That's probably what Micros~1 is doing inside the black box, simply running a similar kind of VM with an RDP interface... and assuming I have enough RAM, I can do the same thing on my LAN. Wheee.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: the Cloud PC resumed in precisely the state we left it

        Given the description of the experience in the article, I'd agree- it's essentially an RDP connection to a virtual machine that's been spun up somewhere in Azure.

        There's another term for it if it's all on-prem: virtual desktops aka VDI. It's just that in this case, your virtual desktop is hosted off-prem up in the cloud.

        We tried it on prem. No One Liked it. (although the support manager at the time dropped his entire refresh budget that year buying a pallet of thin clients that we ultimately junked because they didn't have enough horse to do anything more than show a web page or run the VDI client.)

        Oh, how the wheel turns....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At those prices I could buy my own machine of the same spec for a years subscription. Not sure most people have the requirement of access the same desktop anywhere. Deadend product unless they can hype it enough.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      This is just the opening salvo

      in the war to move everyone inc on-premises hardware to a subscription model. £20.99/month + VAT. They'll stop selling software licenses and switch to a 100% subscription model. The only question in my mind is when...

      1. Lil Endian

        Re: This is just the opening salvo

        If a licence is required for the client OS then it's licence + sub.

        Noice!

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: This is just the opening salvo

        >£20.99/month + VAT.

        That is just for the Cloud PC, you need to add the MS365/O365 subscription, the Onedrive subscription, the Teams subscription ...

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: This is just the opening salvo

          that's a LOT of nickels and dimes

        2. J. Cook Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: This is just the opening salvo

          and the client license.

          If you are running a VDI instance on prem, you also get to add the server OS licensing, the Hyper-V licensing, the RDS licensing, etc.

  12. Lil Endian

    TCO

    I'd like to see an honest comparison in TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) between local OS usage and rolling out remote OS, for medium and large enterprises. Obviously not to be undertaken by some corporate Beanflicker.

    1. Required HW (local/remote)

    2. Required support (local/remote)

    3. Risk impact (remote platform adding an attack vector; unvetted user devices)

    4. Business continuity (WAN failure; service provider failure (AKA Windows 354))

    5. Loss of data sovereignty, leading to potential legal issues involving client/3rd party data. (Legal budget?)

    6. Impact on eco-footprint (following on from Vulture Goodwin's column)

    Well, that should be a good enough starting point to make the point.

    1. Lil Endian
      Headmaster

      Re: TCO

      Correction: Goodwins'

      [In b4, lol!]

  13. Lil Endian

    OS Updates

    Users that actually want to get their work done being prevented by Windows deciding it's time to update - for an unknown duration. Literally £Billions on the table and nothing practical they can do. [1]

    I've no doubt (too sceptical?) that that downtime will be increased as client OS and remote OS do their best to update at the most inconvenient times.

    Also, how do you test a remote OS update before it's rolled out for you on your remote OS?

    [1] I wasn't involved in desktop configuration, and I'm not sure what the company's policy was there re: updates during business hours. No doubt things have changed since W2000 regarding scheduling. But...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: OS Updates

      As far as I can tell, it's not possible to set the deadlines differently depending on local time, so IT have to set the force install deadline at a sensible time in one location, which screws over everyone in a different timezone.

      My Monday mornings are a dead loss a couple of times a month.

  14. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Windows on Windows

    This kind of machine makes no sense in the standard corporate environment. It's designed for the BYOD environment where the user owns the hardware but logs onto the company environment. But if you already have a beefy Windows machine, this isn't for you.

    The costs are the guaranteed resources on the Windows server and the licences. AWS will offer you a discount if you can bring your own licences. From some calculations I did recently, this kind of offer only makes sense for less than standard (8 - 10 hours concurrent use per person per day). For geographically distributed environments this might make more sense, but really, other more fully virtualised systems probably make the most sense.

    1. Adam Trickett
      Big Brother

      Re: Windows on Windows

      I can see the point for BYOD people who only work in a networked environment anyway.

      Work installs their VPN, Office, and corporate software in the cloud instance. That belongs to work, they secure/manage/run it.

      You simply connect to it with your own computer of any type. Work doesn't care what you physically have in front of you, but they can control what's there virtually.

      If you don't need or can't use isolated access when there is no network, then for some people that's a sane plane. I can't do any work without access to the servers so for me it makes sense, though it's a bit expensive compared to a bulk bough corporate Dell at the moment...

    2. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Windows on Windows

      And if your company is running a BYOD environment already, guest what- they likely have a VDI infrastructure on-prem that you would be connecting to via RDP, a thin client app, vpn, etc.

      This is just VDI hosted in the cloud, which makes the internet connection point an even bigger point of failure.

      I could see some very, VERY specific use cases for this, but for general purposes? nope.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Windows on Windows

        If your company is running VDI then this isn't useful for you. Quite right.

        But if you are setting up a company with a lot of users, doing simple work which can be done remotely and needs to be flexibly scaled (by number of people) then you are the target for this.

        Think about any zero-hours, flexible scaling, job which is done remotely on a computer. Virtual call centres is a big one (inbound and outbound). Chat-based customer service. Facebook/Twitter/YouTube moderation. Anything which is outsourced, with highly variable demand, which can be done from home with flexible staff.

        That is the target, for now at least. Later I believe they really do want to displace on-prem systems for many more people - think about your local estate agent, or the small accounting firm who handles the accounts for your contracting company.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Windows on Windows

          But why would you go to the expense of complete virtual desktops for VOIP and web forms?

          A single server instance could support hundreds of browser-based VOIP and web form clients for a tenth of the overall cost.

          And no small business is stupid enough to buy a desktop PC for their staff and rent another one too.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Windows on Windows

            I don't think browsers are up to virtual call centre applications - but I may be wrong, it is a few years since I was last in that business. They certainly don't want any of their data (or, worse, personal information about any of the people the call centre deals with) stored locally on a device in the minimum-wage employee's possession.

            As for the small business... if it means they can save money on IT support and compliance it might be worth it. Don't forget these people have no in-house IT capability and rely on a local IT business to do everything from replacing hardware to maintaining security and manage document control. As things like printers start to automatically connect to Microsoft's service and resellers offer services for backup (with ransomware protection), industry-specific compliance tools, etc the SME may find the cost worthwhile, particularly if they can keep using older PCs as clients.

            In any case, Microsoft obviously believe they can make money, and I am sure they are not (yet) targetting this at the corporate information-worker's desktop. Office 365 etc are the products for those.

            I have said before, and been downvoted before for saying it: Microsoft aren't interested in the Windows desktop market long term - they are only interested in the cloud. They are happy for Android or Linux to capture the client if they can. About the only exception is gaming.

    3. Smirnov

      This kind of machine makes no sense in the standard corporate environment.

      "It's designed for the BYOD environment where the user owns the hardware but logs onto the company environment."

      In that case good luck trying to sensitive keep company data secure when it's accessed from a potentially compromised remote endpoint your IT department has no control over. Of course, if your business doesn't have sensitive data that can be accessed via Windows 365 and thereby isn't accessible through the BYOD device then I guess that's not a problem.

      Still, I can't see this being useful in more than some niche situations.

  15. Jim Willsher

    As others have eluded to....I really don't see the point.

    - If you have a low-end PC and you want a high-end experience, the money you spend on subscription would be better spent on your own tin

    - If you have a high-end PC then you achieve nothing, you already have what you are striving for.

    - If you have an phone/tablet and you want a PC you'll go demented without a keyboard and mouse, and after a year's subscription you could buy a low end PC anyway.

    Absolutely pointless.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Good points.

      However, my inner stickler compels me to mention that the word in your first sentence should be “alluded”.

  16. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    It gets worse...

    I got a "Major Change Notification" from MS yesterday in which one of the bullet points was "Announcing self-service purchase capabilities for Windows 365". So just like they tried to do with PowerBI a couple of years ago, MS is going to let the USERS purchase their own Windows365 license tied to the Office365 account we've given them. No, no, no, and NO!

    Fortunately MS will let us turn that off at the tenant level; unfortunately it requires using that crappy MSCommerce module in Powershell.

  17. Lil Endian

    MS Don't Want To Maintain An OS

    Maintaining an OS is hard. Doing so behind closed doors means the onus is entirely on the vendor (ie. propriety OS, eg. MS and Windows).

    MS knows this and would be happier maintaining applications only. As it was speculated years ago.

    So they've created a viable migration path to alternative desktop platforms (yeah, BSD, Linux & Mac).

    1. Include WSL so applications can be migrated locally (or alternative applications found).

    2. Provide Windows PaaS for non-migratable applications to be run from other OSs. (Although I think I'd prefer VMing Windows rather than using PaaS.)

    3. Terminate Windows.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: MS Don't Want To Maintain An OS

      created a viable migration path to alternative desktop platforms (yeah, BSD, Linux & Mac).

      that may be true, but if Micros~1 were serious about "migrating us" they'd offer versions of ALL of their products that are 100% compatible with these other platforms, which actually would NOT be bad as every OTHER software vendor would jump on that bandwagon as well.

      Or, they'd try to take over the Wayland project and cram THAT down our throats. Ooops, too late?

      1. Lil Endian

        Re: MS Don't Want To Maintain An OS

        I was playing devil's advocate. IMO they're money grabbing cunts, but what are you going to do?

        SERIOUS - they can't handle SERIOUS

      2. Lil Endian
        Pint

        Re: MS Don't Want To Maintain An OS

        BTW that's bollocks Bob. 100% bollocks to what I posted.

        My point was they don't want to offer other than profit. How would that be provided by them supplying EVERYTHING ON EVERY PLATFORM?

        [Nope, don't like the shouting, won't do that again, cheers.]

  18. naive Silver badge

    What is the selling point for a cloud PC if a very decent chromebook costs $ 500

    Chromebook = cloud PC + device for one price :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Operating over a 4G connection on the A52 in no way degraded performance"

    In other news, a 17 car pile-up occurred this afternoon just outside Derby.

    1. Lil Endian

      I'd have thought pulling 4G would've degraded performance sooner.

  20. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Not Buying

    Looking at the rental fees for use on a reasonable box, you are looking at ~$500/yr+. I can buy a Mac Mini for somewhat more money once and have many years of service. A Linux box hardware might in the same ballpark but again there are many years of service for the box. I cannot justify that level of extortion.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Not Buying

      Yes, agreed, but as has been pointed out elsewhere, corporate beancounters vastly prefer Opex expenditure to Capex. If you’re an IT manager, it’s much easier to get approval for the former.

      Hence the move everywhere (Microsoft, Adobe, etc) to nudge everyone to the subscription model. Own nothing, and be in hock for evermore. And I hate it.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Not Buying

        Beancounters and other assorted mental midgets fail to understand one and done is usually easier on the cash. Taking a loan is not as good as cash up front but eventually you pay off the the loan. Renting means you always must pay or else. There are only a couple of situations were renting could make sense for anyone including companies. Otherwise outright ownership is a better.

  21. TonyJ Silver badge

    Where to start...

    Well for one thing they're doing what Citrix and VMware have been doing for years, so this is a bit of catchup (again) but by the sounds of it, they're doing it worse.

    Why... why would the base offering have a single vCPU? I don't think anyone with half a brain would expect a performant option with this configuration. Especially on a hypervisor where RAM and disk are consumed far more rapidly than CPU. Even in my home lab, the minimum vCPU count is 2, but more usually 4.

    Cost - also, I agree, one of the main disadvantaged of Citrix and VMware offerings - it's just way too expensive to deliver a usable machine.

    Use case - I've never been a huge fan of VDI full stop. I just don't see many use cases for it that pure RDS/Server Based Computing models don't fill already. I can think of a small number but on the whole, it's taking a traditionally complex to manage desktop environment, throwing it onto a complex SBC hosting environment and then requiring tons of expensive tier-0 storage on top.

    I just think that DaaS/VDI are [expensive and complex] solutions looking for problems.

  22. BOFH in Training

    Wonder who it's for

    Most places I worked in have all sorts of custom software running for various needs, from accounting to inventory to logistics to other stuff.

    And many have all the different excel files created by various teams and secretaries etc, some which are linked to other excel files (it's stupid and crazy to use excel in this way, but it's common - probably not even known to central IT teams) in a server or a desktop or something.

    So, how does a cloud pc thingy help with such things? Can you even install custom software in these cloud PCs? Or will there have to be major workflow changes for an organisation to migrate to cloud PCs?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Wonder who it's for

      That's likely not a problem. If they network the VMs like they network desktops, the existing sharing mechanisms for linking files together and sharing them will work just as well. They're Windows machines running in a different place, so you can install and run the same software. Not good if you need hardware access for something, but if it's just old software, it will run as badly on Windows 10 in front of you or Windows 10 elsewhere (latency aside). Still, that only says it won't break, not that it has any benefit to the users. In almost all cases I can think of, it doesn't.

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Wonder who it's for

      I don't think that is the target (at least today). I believe the target is businesses where the PCs are transient - all identical, created, used for a few hours, destroyed. Mostly running a single application (mostly call centre or customer care apps). Sometimes they need 10 at the same time, sometimes they need 1000.

      There is a lot of money in call centres and other outsourcing. Particularly if you can use very low paid people by using a cheap device they already own (PC or tablet).

      1. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Wonder who it's for

        But whether it is 10 ot 1000 VPC they also need 10 or 1000 PC,s to connect to the VPC, twice the amount of hardware

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Wonder who it's for

        Those places already use 100% in-the-browser solutions.

        A full virtual Windows desktop is more expensive, slower, harder to set up, harder to use and far less secure.

        So nope, try again.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS not this shit again

    why do they keep hyping this virtual remote computer crap every 10 fucking years

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS not this shit again

      I wonder if there's a general correlation with how long it takes an MBA to move from middle-management to upper-management...

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: FFS not this shit again

      So they can sell it to the manglers using cloudy, lightweight desktop, 365 , instant update, security and 1/2 a dozen other buzzwords to fool the idiots into handing over vast sums of money for 'not their own mainframe'.

      Then, in 10 years time, they'll start selling individual OS licences using buzz words like unhackable, secure, 365.25 uptime, fleet management and reducing bandwidth consumption to the new manglement team who'll spend vast sums of money on heavy weight desktop PCs that will get used for word processing, spread sheet and database management and playing spider solitare.

      wait another 10 yrs.......

      Wheres the cynical bastard icon?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: FFS not this shit again

        Wheres the cynical bastard icon?

        I don’t think you have to be particularly cynical. Anyone with the world awareness of a concussed cuttlefish can see that this is exactly what is going on.

        So this icon will probably do.

    3. PRR

      Re: FFS not this shit again

      > "why do they keep hyping this virtual remote computer crap every 10 fucking years

      Because when they hype it every five fucking years, everybody yawns.

      Seriously: 10 years is about the time for the PFY to grow up, get stale, and move on(*). Now the new PFY will fall for the pretty candy. Will it go round in circles? Yes indeed:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_e-RQZVwxg

      (*) I had a 29 year career, but PCs were thin for the first decade, and by the last decade I'd moved on from desk-work support and could not be tempted to look.

  24. bazza Silver badge
    WTF?

    Whhaaaaa?

    If one's got a client machine good enough to make this experience adequate for whatever one's needs are, the chances are that the client machine is good enough for whatever it is one wants to do in the first place. Deeply mystified as to why the $£$£ one would want to go this way...

    1. dboyes

      Re: Whhaaaaa?

      One possible answer: cost of support people. For a majority of small businesses, this could be managed without support staff that you have to pay and give benefits to. There are a fair number of people that don't need more than this offering and a QuickBooks install (since QB went web-based, you could even skip that). No more faffing about with hardware or upgrades or anything like that, and you can bet someone will build a ARM-based dedicated appliance with just enough horsepower to run the RDP client to access it, kind of like the Wyse RDP terminal.

      Welcome back to timesharing. You'll figure out that it's more cost efficient to own your own, but until then, the meter is running.

  25. DrBed
    Trollface

    New feature

    BSOD, cloud version

    1. Lil Endian
      Paris Hilton

      Re: New feature

      Blue Sky Offering Durability?

  26. HenryCrun

    Pi time?

    So Microsoft want me to shell-out £1,000+ to replace my work desktop (6c/12t cpu, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) and still need a non-dumb client. Perhaps my client device will have to be a Raspberry Pi because I cannot afford anything else having given all my money to Microsoft. But wait, I'm developing cloud stuff in Azure so as long as I can do that on the Pi I don't need the virtual PC. Well then perhaps I don't need office given that there are a number of alternatives, some of which are free. So perhaps I can do everything on a Pi, even if I were to get the top level Pi 4 it would cost less than one month subscription to Microsoft. Now how-to get shot of Azure? Well for my purposes all I need is a queue technology (e.g. RabbitMQ or similar) and change my C# to something like Node-js and then host it somewhere. Given how light the demands are on my system even at the maximum estimated demand it would probably work on a fat desktop or similar 1-U rack item. The rational for anything Microsoft gets weaker by the day. Hello open source.

  27. Binraider Silver badge

    $158/month, equivalent to $948/year for an 8 core, 32GB RAM host.

    Cursory googling turns up you can get roughly that spec for $650 out of a Ryzen 5600G; without the red tape and lack of ownership or loss of connectivity whenever network and/or datacentre throw a hissy fit.

    Of course, I'm not the target audience. Muppet businesses that have got so embedded in the MS ecosystem and disconnected from hardware that they don't know how to do anything else I'm sure will lap these up.

    What's the saying... Other VM service providers are available?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly aimed at the corporate, state and federal market, which is MS's main trough these days.

    If you want to game, they really want you to buy and xbox, no way they will rent you a gaming computer for less annually than the price of an xbox.

  29. The Central Scrutinizer

    The third paragraph made my eyes glaze over. TLDR

  30. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

    Adrian Mole

    As dear Adrian might well have said:

    Why? Why? Why?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Adrian Mole

      Curse you, now I have Ian Dury’s theme song going round and round my head.

      “I’m profoundly in love with Pandora…”

  31. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

    Home directory on NFS == hell on earth

    At work, I had a machine where my home directory was on NFS. I was not a user on my own machine, just on the network. Imagine what happened when the electrician unplugged the network by mistake. No work was done, that's for sure. I could not even work offline, because I did not exist on my own machine. Another problem was permissions to access certain hardware, e.g. USB audio. Forget adding myself to the whatever group, because I dd not exist as a user. I had to fiddle with udev rules. It should be obvious from this that I could run my machine locally as root, but I have always thought that is very bad form, and lazy.

    It worries me a bit that cloudy stuff is very popular at work. It seems to be OK, but I get the impression that production would grind to a halt if there were a major network outage, and HR could not pay wages. I don't mind if gaffers at work see this comment. I will put my views forward when I get the opportunity.

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