Microsoft's new Windows 365 cloud service has just revealed its full pricing plans. Effectively offering its users a virtual Windows PC in the cloud, plans will start at $20 per user per month for one vCPU, 2GB RAM and 64GB storage.
Prices increase depending on the amount of storage, RAM, and virtual central processing units required. Windows 365 plans max out at $162.00 per user per month, an amount which covers 8 vCPUs, 32GB RAM and 512GB storage.
The business-oriented virtual service lets users stream their Windows desktop app view directly to their other devices, even those on rival operating systems such as macOS, iPadOS, Android, and Linux. It's available now.
Windows 365 Pricing Plans
The plans come in two flavors: Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. Enterprise is aimed at companies with over 300 employees, and while both plans offer similar features, the Enterprise plan is available for slightly less per user per month.
All plans are available for a monthly subscription that automatically renews, with no option for an annual subscription listed.
Business offers one configuration for those getting one vCPU — 2 GB RAM and 64 GB Storage for $24.00/user/month).
The biggest selections are available for those with two vCPUs, offering five configurations — 4 GB RAM and 64 GB Storage for $32.00/user/month, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB Storage for $35.00/user/month, 4 GB RAM and 256 GB Storage for $44.00/user/month, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB Storage for $45.00/user/month, and finally 8 GB RAM and 256 GB Storage for $54.00/user/month.
Three configurations are offered for four vCPUs: 4 vCPU 16 GB RAM 128 GB Storage for $70.00/user/month, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB Storage for $79.00/user/month, and 16 GB RAM and 512 GB Storage for $105.00/user/month. Lastly, three configurations are offered for eight vCPUs: 32 GB RAM and 128 GB Storage for $127.00/user/month, 32 GB RAM and 256 GB Storage for $136.00/user/month, and 32 GB RAM and 512 GB Storage for $162.00/user/month.
Windows 365 Enterprise
The Enterprise plan offers all the same configurations as the Business plan, though at a slight discount.
Enterprise's configuration for one vCPU costs $20.00/user/month. Its five configurations for two CPUs cost, respectively: $28, $31, $40, $41, and $50 per user per month. The three configurations for four vCPUs are priced at $66, $75, and $101 per user per month, and the three set-ups for eight vCPUs are $123, $132, and $158 per user per month.
What is Windows Hybrid Benefit?
All the Windows 365 Business plans come with an option for a discount that reduces their cost to the same level as the Enterprise plan. It's termed the “Windows Hybrid Benefit,” and Microsoft ties a few strings to it. Here's how the tech software giant explains it on their FAQ page:
“Windows Hybrid Benefit is a licensing benefit that helps reduce the cost of Windows 365 Business. With Windows Hybrid Benefit, you receive a discount of up to 16 percent on your Windows 365 Business subscription if you already use Windows 10 Pro on a device.”
Customers using any devices with valid Windows 10 Pro licenses will qualify for the savings, although they'll have to be the devices' primary user, and it must be their primary work device as well.
Any user with the discount must access their Windows 365 service from this device at least once during their subscription term in order to keep the benefit. Plus, Microsoft includes a fine-text warning that appears to leave the company open to denying the benefits anyway, saying “Actual savings may vary based on purchase geography and instance configuration.”
Microsoft's new virtual service might be opening up the Windows software to a far wider range of operating systems and device locations, but they still like to incentivize keeping users on their own hardware.
Try a Free Trial
One user per organization can try out a 60-day free trial — though it's limited to three specific configurations. The most extensive configuration available offers 4 vCPUs, 16GB RAM and 256GB storage, and is likely a great way to test out the service on a remote workforce.
Will Windows 365 usher in a new age of remote work, or, at the least, successfully grab on to the coattails of a remote work trend that was already unavoidable? It's too early to say what businesses will make of the new cloud solution, but virtual hardware is a smart move in a world where pandemic precautions have just led Facebook to mandate that even vaccinated workers will now have to wear masks while in their physical office. Remote access to Windows has never looked better.