Microsoft has just eradicated the need for new PCs with its latest offering; the Windows 365
There was a time when a notification of the new Windows variant would lead to a surge in PC sales. But now, Windows has just announced its next revolution. The revolution, which is called Windows 365, can drive PC sales below the radar level. Instead, suppose you own shares in HP, Dell or other manufacturers of computers. In that case, you have every reason to be very worried indeed. Recently, all the hype has been about Windows 11, which is the latest offering by Microsoft. But Windows 11 is just the tip of the iceberg. Windows 365 is the new game in town.
Windows 365 is a service by Microsoft that will turn any device into a virtual PC. It allows businesses to access virtual PCs that host Windows 10 and Windows 11 via any web browser on a smart device. The device can be a smartphone, a tablet or even a 10-year old laptop. All that the devices need is a connection to the internet and a web browser. Microsoft claims that anyone using Windows 365 will get the same performance irrespective of the device used to access the virtual PC. That is because Windows 365 will be streamed from the Microsoft servers.
The Wizardry of Microsoft Windows
When Windows 95 was released in the ending years of the last century, it was introduced with a huge bang. Microsoft spent millions in marketing, and that sent PC sales into overdrive. The company also cranked up the system requirements for the new operating system. This forced many people to buy new PCs that could support the new OS despite having a PC in their home already. So hugely successful was the campaign run by Microsoft.
The trend that new Windows OS drove up sales of the PCs is also confirmed by the allegations on Microsoft that it introduced new OS versions such as Windows Me to augment the PC sales. Of course, the PC manufacturers did not mind one bit. That time is genuinely considered a gold rush for PC manufacturers.
Windows XP was launched in 2001 and caused the sale of 17 million PCs just in the first two months of its introduction! This figure was four times more than Windows 98. Bill Gates said in 2002 at CES that, "Today, just two and a half months after the launch of Windows XP, more than 17 million people are enjoying the new experiences, stability and security that Windows XP offers. This is our best-selling release of Windows ever, and one that is creating great opportunities for PC manufacturers and our other partners in the industry."
Windows in the cloud
But this time around, Microsoft seems to have forgotten about its natural partners since its inception; the PC manufacturers. Instead of both entities scratching each other's backs, Microsoft seems to have plunged a deep knife into the PC makers figurative heart.
Windows 365 eradicates the demand for new PCs. People usually buy new PCs because their older laptops become slow over time. They also do not have the latest industry updates. One such update was the introduction of super-fast SSD. But a Windows that is hosted on the cloud servers needs a strong internet connection for speed, not the PC's hardware. As long as the PC can turn on fast enough, people won't need to buy a new laptop.
The new service won't be free, though. It might even be expensive for those of us who live in the so-called third world countries. Although the pricing is not finalized yet, and neither has been officially reported, many rumours have put it in the range of $30 per month. But rumours have also indicated that inexpensive plans will also be available for price-conscious customers. For millions of businesses all over the globe, the potential cost saving this scheme allows them is very enticing. Now they won't have to upgrade their PCs every few years.
Rather than purchasing a new PC, all the companies will be required to provide workers with a display and a lightweight piece of computing hardware to operate the web browser. It could be as simple as the USB compute sticks or even a Raspberry Pi priced at less than $100. If the team is operating from their residence, they can handle their laptops or tablets to log in to the 'work PC'. The business isn't necessitated to bother about workers utilizing their devices for job requirements and related security hazards. Everything is enclosed in the cloud.
There is one catch here. Windows 365 is being offered only to businesses and not to individuals. This, however, is a temporary setback, expected from service as revolutionary as this. As more people get to know about this service, it will become pervasive even in the consumer category. Microsoft could have delayed the release to consumers to give its PC makers a chance to recuperate from their losses and set their goals straight for upcoming years. Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that Windows operating system variants are not the big driver of sales as they once had been.
Microsoft has played smart. It has all the best cards in its hands. Take gaming, for example. People are playing Xbox games on their Macs using Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming service. The service allows users to play games on any piece of hardware connected with the internet. They don't even have to take their console out. Although the service is still in the beta phase and accessible to a select few people, it is still a testament to how far Microsoft has come in its journey to take its entire OS onto the cloud.
Now imagine how this is going to play out in the long run. As Microsoft takes its OS and its various other service offerings onto the cloud, the need to check for the latest specs of a laptop or the rush to fill in system requirements for different games or apps will cease. People won't have to worry about backing their data as they will have access to a virtually unlimited 1-terabyte OneDrive storage. There will be no need to fuss over anti-virus software as well. Everything will be done in real-time, in the background by Microsoft.
However, people should keep in mind that this shift will not take place overnight. Many people still require local computing power for various purposes. They can't, therefore, rely on a cloud or an internet connection to run their operations. But Windows 365 is undoubtedly the most significant threat that PC makers are going to face. Ironically, it is coming from the same entity responsible for their rise in the first place.