But on the other side of the coin entirely is Windows 365
, which is Microsoft’s attempt to bring cloud-based computing to the enterprise … and possibly, later, to consumers.
But the fact that Microsoft is putting a first-party solution on this is promising because of what it might represent to lots of computer users with not-so-new machines. The dream is basically a low-end version of Stadia
: Rather than upgrading your hardware, you instead purchase time from Microsoft, which then rents you out a whole desktop, which you use instead of your presumably less-capable computer. It’s only being sold to business and enterprise customers now in part because there are presumed security benefits to running Windows machines in a virtual machine environment.
But if there’s demand, that could soon change—and it’s not that far-fetched that it could play to consumers under the Microsoft umbrella. It’s the kind of thing that really would have come in handy at the start of the pandemic, when folks were trying to make Chromebooks and 15-year-old laptops work for kids trying to learn remotely.
(One has to wonder if this is why Microsoft spent all this time building out Azure.)
In both the case of the Framework and Windows 365, in a best-case scenario, your computer lasts significantly longer than it currently does because there’s a path forward. The challenge becomes how one gets there. In the case of the Framework, you buy improved parts based on your needs, much as you would with an enthusiast desktop computer; but with Windows 365, you pay Microsoft a monthly fee for the right to continually keep the hardware up to date in an abstracted form.
Both of these visions are exciting in their own ways. The real problem is which one stands the best chance of working with a larger cohort of consumers. My guess is Microsoft’s direction … but something tells me it should be Framework’s.
One can hope at least.