Microsoft pushed Software as a Service ever since the company's CEO changed. First, in the form of Office 365 which the company launched as a subscription-based option next to the classic Office desktop applications, and then later on in a package with Windows which Microsoft called Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 is only available for Enterprise, Education, and business customers. Both services have in common that they are subscription-based.
Microsoft Managed Desktop (MMD) is the next logical step in expanding the company's "as a service" options further. At its core, it is an option for customers to use Microsoft 365 with devices that they rent from Microsoft or partners.
Microsoft calls the hardware renting part of Microsoft Managed Desktop Device as a Service. It combines Microsoft 365 Enterprise, Desktop as a Service, and cloud-based device management by Microsoft in a single package.
Our goal with MMD is to provide a great experience for users while keeping devices secure and up to date. MMD relies on the power of Microsoft 365, running in a consistent, lightweight, reference architecture that continues to evolve to allow our customers to take full advantage of our intelligent security capabilities to protect them from nascent threats.
Importantly, MMD is built on modern devices that meet our specification and runtime quality bar.
Microsoft refers to the rented devices as modern but it does not reveal specs. It seems likely that customers may choose between different device configurations based on their requirements. A developer has other requirements than employees working in sales or customer support.
Microsoft is working in partnership with Dell, HP, DXC, HCL, Computacenter, and Accenture/Avanade.
Analytics play an important role according to Microsoft. The company plans to use analytics to " provide operational and security insights and learnings". In other words, analytics is used to react quickly to security issues, bugs, and other things that may impact productivity, security, and other operational areas.
Microsoft Managed Desktop is only available in the U.K. and the United States at the time of writing. Microsoft plans to expand the service to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in early 2019 and to other geographical regions (which it does not mention) in the second half of 2019.
Microsoft Managed Desktop is the next step in turning Microsoft products into subscription-based services; it combines Desktop as a Service with Microsoft 365 to rent hardware and software to Enterprise customers.
Whether some of that will land for smaller businesses or even consumers remains to be seen.
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