Microsoft Rumored To Be Developing Free Windows Cloud-Based OS

Microsoft has done a good job of embracing the cloud as it pertains to its lucrative consumer products--look no further than Office 365 and the free online Office suite at as proof--but the Redmond company may be taking things even further by rolling out a cloud-based operating system, too.

The information is from Russian leaker WZOR, which noted that rumors that Windows 9 or Windows 8.2 will be free could actually point to a free version that would actually be cloud-based. It’s somewhat difficult to parse the language of WZOR’s post on the matter with a rough Google translation, but it appears as though users could download and install the so-called “Windows Cloud” from the BIOS.

Credit: Myce

Some functionality would be available offline--such as what you might get from Windows Starter--but presumably you’d get much more functionality with a subscription and Internet connectivity.

It sounds an awful lot like what Google has done with Chrome OS, which makes plenty of sense. Even setting aside the fact that Chrome OS devices are biting into traditional PC sales, such a paradigm can work quite well on lower-powered devices, be those lightweight laptops, tablets, or NUC-like mini PCs.

We’ve seen it work with Chrome OS, and Microsoft would be wise to follow suit, at least in some way. If nothing else, a lightweight client backed by a cloud OS would demonstrate that Microsoft understands the changing nature of the PC market and embraces the exploding variety of devices and form factors that consumers can buy.

WZOR also noted that Windows 8.2 (or Windows 8.1 Update 2, or whatever it will be called), which should come this fall, will feature a classic Start button in the new Metro interface--but not on devices with multitouch screens or on servers.