Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC Now Available, Free Trials Paused

Microsoft said “unbelievable demand” exceeded capacity, resulting in the waitlist for free trials.

Jeffrey Schwartz

August 5, 2021

3 Min Read
Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC Now Available, Free Trials Paused

Microsoft’s Windows 365 Cloud PC service is now live, but there is already a waitlist for those requesting free trials. Due to “unbelievable demand” for 60-day trial accounts of the cloud-based VDI offering, Microsoft says it has reached capacity.

The new Windows 365 desktop as a service (DaaS) went live on Monday, just over two weeks after Microsoft revealed the new offering.

“We have seen unbelievable response to #Windows365 and need to pause our free trial program while we provision additional capacity,” tweeted Scott Manchester, Microsoft’s partner director for Windows 365.

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Those who want to evaluate Windows 365 can either join the waiting list or buy it, according to Microsoft. The irony that Microsoft ran out of capacity for the free trials wasn’t lost among those commenting on the company’s announcement. “The cloud is full!” tweeted IT professional Barry Brown. Also chiming in was solution architect Matthew Nichols, who tweeted: “Wait?! What?!?! The cloud is not infinite.”

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A Curiosity Run Amok

But it’s not surprising that customers and partners would want to try it before they buy it, said principal industry analyst Anurag Agrawal of Techaisle.


Techaisle’s Anurag Agrawal

“Free trial is a curiosity run amok,” Agrawal said. “Users are experimenting. They want to know, does it work with on-PC software accelerators, drivers for performance, and for example, webcams, monitors and printers? What does Windows 365 replace in the technology stack? What are the roles of Citrix and VMware in the technology stack? Conversion from free to paid will be the absolute benchmark.”

Windows 365 Pricing Revealed

In addition to going live with Windows 365 this week, Microsoft disclosed the price list. Pricing ranges from $20 per user, per month, to $158. In total, there are 24 SKUs. As previously announced, there are two versions of Windows 365: Business and Enterprise, each offered in 12 different SKUs.

The Business version is for organizations with up to 300 employees, while Windows 365 Enterprise is for larger customers. The latter, the company said, is more scalable, and offers centralized management with Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Agrawal said the version suited for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) is the Business Basic edition. At $31 per user, per month, the Basic option offers 2 vCPUs, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It supports Teams chat and audio calls, and the desktop versions of Office apps, Outlook and OneDrive.

The Standard Edition also has 2vCPUs but comes offers 8 GB of RAM and the complete version of Teams. Premium, at $66, has 4 vCPUs, 16 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, supports the software in the Standard Edition plus Microsoft’s Visual Studio, Power BI and Office 365.

“The price points and the SKUs are attractive enough for firms to adopt Windows 365 and Microsoft 365,” Argrawal said. “After all, 53% of SMB and midmarket firms are moving toward opex-based, as-a-service technology acquisition. The $31 Basic plan translates to approximately $360 per year, which is relatively less expensive than purchasing a fully configured PC. We do not know the discounted bundled pricing for PCaaS-DaaS, which includes Windows 365, Microsoft 365, PCs and managed services. The long game may be more attractive than the immediate price relevancy.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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