Microsoft plans to make Windows a cloud-only service

Microsoft is expanding its cloud-based approach to Windows, aiming to bring a full Windows operating system streamed from the cloud to consumers. This plan was revealed in an internal presentation called “state of the business” from June 2022, which also outlined Microsoft’s gaming strategy and its connection to other areas of the company.

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The presentation, part of the ongoing FTC v. Microsoft hearing, identified moving Windows 11 to the cloud as a long-term opportunity in Microsoft’s consumer space. The goal is to leverage the power of the cloud and client to deliver enhanced AI-powered services and enable a seamless digital experience across devices.

Windows 365, a service that currently streams a full version of Windows to commercial customers, will play a significant role in this cloud-based approach. Microsoft has already integrated Windows 365 into Windows 11 and plans to introduce Windows 365 Boot, allowing devices to log directly into a Cloud PC instance at boot. Windows 365 Switch will also be integrated into Windows 11, facilitating the use of Cloud PCs within the Task View feature.

In addition to the cloud transition, Microsoft recognizes the importance of investing in custom silicon partnerships. This includes efforts in developing ARM-based processors for its Surface devices, as well as potentially designing its own AI chips. The company aims to strengthen the commercial value of Windows and address the threat posed by Chromebooks by expanding the usage of cloud PCs with Windows 365.

Microsoft’s commitment to AI is evident in the announcement of Windows Copilot, an AI-powered assistant for Windows 11. Windows Copilot can summarize, rewrite, and explain the content users view in apps. It represents Microsoft’s broader push for AI integration in Windows, collaborating with AMD and Intel to enable more Windows features on next-generation CPUs.

This ambitious approach aligns with Microsoft’s vision, as outlined in the internal presentation, to enhance Windows with improved AI-powered services. The company’s focus on cloud-based streaming, custom silicon partnerships, and AI integration demonstrates its commitment to transforming the Windows experience and delivering innovative solutions to consumers.