This month is off to an exciting start for Microsoft and its virtual desktop users with the recent launch of Windows 365. The new desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offers a more simplified and scalable version than its predecessor, Azure Virtual Desktop, when it comes to simplified management and its commercial model. Although new, Windows 365 is designed to complement Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop, not replace it. In this post, we’ll share an overview of Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 to help you zero in on the best product for you and your team. Let’s dive in.

What is Microsoft Windows 365?

Windows 365 Cloud PC is a desktop virtualization solution that was launched by Microsoft on August 2, 2021. The cloud PC allows users to conveniently and securely stream their personalized apps, settings and content from the Microsoft cloud to any device that runs Windows 365 Cloud PC. A perfect tool for hybrid work, this cloud PC offers a new hybrid and scalable personal computing category that’s designed to complement physical PCs and virtual desktops alike. It works just like your physical PC or Mac does at home, so any device can become a cloud PC with Windows 365. Windows 365’s single user design, fixed price offering and usage of the Microsoft 365 cloud instead of Azure are features that really make this new service stand out.

Windows 365 Key Features

  • Pricing: Windows 365 offers a monthly subscription with a fixed per-user price. With this option, you’ll pick a suitable cloud PC size and assign a Windows 365 license to a dedicated user.
  • Who it’s for: Windows 365 is designed with organizations in mind rather than individual users and offers two types of plans—Business and Enterprise. Windows 365 Business is geared towards small companies with 300 or less cloud PCs with individual users in mind and is managed by the user without an Intune license. Windows 365 Enterprise appeals to larger businesses with abundant IT resources and teams already using the platform to run their physical Windows 10 desktops. This plan requires each user to have an Intune license.
  • Usage: Windows 365 allows use of virtual desktops without having to manage the supporting infrastructure.
  • Complexity: Windows 365 is viewed as a more simplistic virtual desktop interface when compared to Azure Virtual Desktop because it handles all the details for you.
  • Number of Desktops: If there are a small number of personalized desktops in the IT environment, Windows 365 Business is a great choice.
  • Takeaway: Best if you want simplicity.

What is Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop) is a cloud-based virtual desktop platform that was released by Microsoft in September 2019. The desktop-as-a-service enables users to access their remote desktop security from anywhere and on any device while also providing a scalable and flexible work environment. AVD is a great tool to use for organizations who have employees working remotely, want to keep information secure or those using another device to connect to their work virtual desktop.

Azure Virtual Desktop Key Features

  • Pricing: Azure Virtual Desktop offers pricing based on consumption, so the cost may be higher than other months.
  • Who it’s for: Azure caters to enterprises rather than individual consumers.
  • Usage: Multiple users can use the same desktop virtual machine simultaneously with AVD and Windows 10.
  • Complexity: Azure Virtual Desktop is best for users who are familiar with virtual desktop interface already and want control over the customization.
  • Number of Desktops: A good option for environments where the number of virtual desktop users changes from month to month.
  • Takeaway: Best if you want flexibility.


Windows 365 Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Security and flexibility to work from anywhere on any device
  • Security and flexibility to work from anywhere on any device
Experience level
  • A more simplistic virtual desktop interface that handles the work for you
  • Geared towards those who are experienced with virtual desktop interface
Designed for
  • Those wanting simplicity or have little to no virtual desktop experience
  • Those wanting flexibility or have experience with Azure
  • Fixed per-user pricing
  • Consumption based pricing
Best for
  • Businesses and Enterprises
  • Enterprises


The adoption of virtual desktop infrastructure is growing rapidly among businesses globally, offering attractive features for teams wanting to bolster their security, increase productivity and support hybrid work. Microsoft Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop offer great features to accommodate the needs of business of all sizes. Looking to take an even deeper dive into the technical specs of these two solutions? Take a look at the in depth comparison of these two DaaS services from our friends over at Nerdio.

Whether you’re working remotely or onsite, desktop virtualization is growing in popularity among businesses. IronEdge is here to answer your questions and set you up with the tools and environment you need for success. Reach out to our team to discover how a virtual desktop solution can benefit you and your workforce.