According to the insider press, Microsoft is close to releasing the “Microsoft Managed Desktop,” which is a version of Windows that will be distributed and exclusively administered by Microsoft, for a monthly rental fee. Perhaps it will run only on some specialized hardware platforms, as MacOS runs only on Macintosh hardware.
“Microsoft's Got a New Plan for Managing Windows 10 Devices for a Monthly Fee”
Mary Jo Foley, All About Microsoft, July 27, 2018
As anyone who's been watching Windows 10 feature updates knows, many IT pros are unhappy about Microsoft's twice-yearly feature updates to the OS. They have seen updates break compatibility with things they didn't anticipate. They've seen Microsoft post and pull patches and updates to these releases, making deployment a nightmare. Windows as a service has been a rocky (or substitute your expletive of choice) road for many.
Microsoft looks to be counting on companies being ready for greater predictability — in terms of spending, updating and support — in exchange for letting someone else do the driving.
In other words, they are about to abandon the last remnants of the pretense that Windows machines are “personal computers” in any meaningful sense. A machine running a Microsoft Managed Desktop is an appliance, plain and simple — not even an appliance that you own, but one that you rent and operate on terms convenient to the lessor. The Terms of Service are going to be wondrous to behold.
“With DaaS Windows Coming, Say Goodbye to Your PC As You Know It”
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Computerworld, July 30, 2018
Microsoft has been getting away from the old-style desktop model for years now. Just look at Office. Microsoft would much rather have you rent Office via Office 365 than buy Microsoft Office and use it for years. Microsoft Managed Desktop is the first move to replacing “your” desktop with a rented desktop. By 2021, I expect the Managed Desktop to be to traditional Windows what Office 365 is to Office today.
“With the Next Version of Microsoft Windows, Say Goodbye to Your Windows PC As You Know It”
Dick Eastman, Privacy Blog, July 30, 2018
I'm not sure I would trust Microsoft to keep my PC clean and tidy and free of viruses. Then there is the privacy issue: will Microsoft add spyware the way that Facebook does?
Eastman seems to be a little behind the curve here. Windows 10 is already full of spyware, although Microsoft prefers to call it “telemetry.” The difference is that under the Microsoft Managed Desktop you won't have the right to turn any of it off.