Windows 11 will act as an 'on-ramp' for Microsoft's cloud

Windows 11 logo in front of the new wallpaper
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ahead of the release of Windows 11 next month, Microsoft's operating system is no longer the company's biggest money maker as its cloud computing business has overtaken Windows in recent years.

As reported by Business Insider, CEO Satya Nadella has spent his seven years at the company focused on expanding Microsoft Azure. In fact, in January of last year Nadella joked that he may begin referring to the company's operating system as "Azure Edge" since Windows has become an extension of its cloud computing service.

The launch of Windows 11 follows last year's pandemic-fueled PC boom and comes at a time when chip shortages have made it difficult for consumers to procure new devices. Thankfully, Microsoft has an answer to this in the form of its new Windows 365 PC-as-a-service offering that allows users to stream a Windows desktop to any of their devices wherever they are.

As the company's cloud revenues have grown, Windows is now part of its “More Personal Computing” revenue segment which also includes Xbox, Surface hardware and Bing search advertising.

An on-ramp for Azure

In the past Microsoft required users to pay to upgrade to the latest version of its operating system but this all changed with the release of Windows 10 back in 2015. Just like Apple, the company allowed users to upgrade for free and this will also be the case with the release of Windows 11 next month.

While users no longer have to pay for Windows upgrades, Microsoft's operating system still provides a great deal of value for the company as developers are more likely to write software for it due to its large user base. One of the reasons Azure has been able to begin catching up with AWS in the cloud computing space is due to its large install base with Windows as well as with Microsoft 365.

With Windows 11, Microsoft plans to cater to developers even more with better window management through its Snap Layouts that allow power users to quickly open several applications to pre-set positions on their screens. At the same time though, the company is also changing its Windows app store to give developers a bigger cut of the revenue from their apps.

The release of Windows 11 will give existing users a reason to continue using Microsoft's operating system but it will also help Azure grow especially as more people turn to OneDrive to store their files in the cloud.

Via Business Insider

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.