Windows 365

Windows 365 pricing: scorecard

In my previous post, I estimated/guessed the price of the various Windows 365 configurations available from Microsoft for cloud PCs. As of August 2nd, the real prices are now available. So how did I do? Let’s compare the Windows 365 Enterprise prices:

MicrosoftMicrosoft price (est.)Microsoft Price (actual)Difference
1 vCPU, 2GB RAM, 64GB disk$21$20($1)
2, 4GB, 64GB$29$28($1)
2, 4GB, 128GB$31$31$0
2, 4GB, 256GB$40$40$0
2, 8GB, 128GB$41
2, 8GB, 256GB$50
4, 16GB, 128GB$68$66($2)
4, 16GB, 256GB$74$75$1
4, 16GB, 512GB$86$101$15
8, 32GB, 128GB$126$123($3)
8, 32GB, 256GB$136$132($4)
8, 32GB, 512GB$156$158$2

So overall, I was pretty close. There were two new configurations announced (the 2 core, 8GB RAM ones), so I didn’t have an estimate for those before, but the prices are in line (and overlapping with other configurations). The only one where I was off significantly was the 4/16/512 one. You would think storage pricing would be somewhat linear (so 256 = 2×128 and 512 = 4×128, all other aspects the same), but that’s not the case, the 512GB configuration is a little more than that.

It’s also worth talking a little about the Windows 365 Business configurations. These are effectively the same price as the Windows 365 Enterprise configurations, but only if you are leveraging the Windows Hybrid Benefit. What is that? It’s effectively the “benefit” you get from using Windows 10 Pro to access Windows 365 Business. If you don’t use Windows 10 Pro (e.g. you’re accessing the device from a Chromebook or MacOS, or one running Windows 10 Home), then you have to pay a higher price, about 16% more on average, for the privilege of using Windows 10 Pro. (It would be interesting to see Microsoft break out how much of their OEM revenue comes from Windows 10 Pro, which is preinstalled on most “commercial” devices because it’s a “qualifying OS” for the Windows 10 E3/E5 and Microsoft 365 E3/E5 subscriptions. They make a lot on Pro, and much less on Home.) This “Pro tax” doesn’t exist on the Windows 365 Enterprise subscriptions because you’re already paying for either Windows 10 E3/E5 or Microsoft 365 E3/E5 subscriptions.

And as expected, these prices are very much in line with those from Amazon WorkSpaces (which doesn’t currently have a 512GB-ish configuration to compare against, providing Microsoft a little more flexibility on pricing there), because this is who they want to compete against. If you were offered similar prices between Amazon hosting Windows and Microsoft hosting Windows, you’d probably choose Microsoft because “they must do it better since they make Windows” and in either case you’re probably already working with Microsoft anyway (for those E3/E5 subscriptions).

Nothing in these prices really changes my mind from my initial thoughts on the Windows 365 service. VDI solutions are expensive, regardless of how they are implemented, cloud or on-premises. And having 1:1 persistent VMs are always going to be more expensive than alternative configurations available through Azure Virtual Desktop (e.g. multiuser and non-persistent). So it will be interesting to see what sort of adoption this service gets.

Categories: Windows 365

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