Microsoft’s Chrome OS rival ‘Windows Cloud’ leaks

Google’s cloud-focused Chrome OS has been appearing on Chromebooks for some time now as an attempt to entice consumers by undercutting Microsoft on price.

And while Redmond has been able to fight back by producing low-cost Windows laptops, it seems the company is now ready to go a step further and create its own version of Chrome OS in the form of Windows Cloud.

Code references to Windows Cloud were initally spotted in a beta for the upcoming Windows Creators Update last week, but now both Windows Blog Italia and Thurrott have had some hands-on time with a build.

Related: MWC 2017

The new version of Windows is designed to only run Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, and will display a warning message when users try to run anything else: “The app you’re trying to run isn’t designed for this version of Windows.”

Otherwise, Windows Cloud looks identical to Windows 10, with the lack of support for standard Windows 10 apps likely an attempt to win over companies who will see the limited native app support as a security advantage.

Windows Cloud

At this moment, it doesn’t look like Microsoft’s Centennial bridge, which brings Win32 apps to the Windows Store, works with the OS – though, that could change in the future.

And while the name suggests the OS is designed to work in much the same way as Chrome OS – i.e. using cloud storage rather than local storage – Windows Cloud doesn’t seem to be based entirely on virtual storage.

As Thurrot’s Brad Sams, who went hands-on with the OS, writes: “In nearly every way, it looks, feels, and operates like Windows 10 that you are using today but with the limitation that it can only run UWP apps.”

Just how Windows Cloud will be implemented, and when, remains unclear at this point, though the fact there are references to it in the latest Insider Build suggests we could see it arrive soon in some capacity.

The Creators Update is scheduled to arrive in the spring, so we’re hoping to hear more about Windows Cloud when that launches.

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Let us know what you make of Windows Cloud in the comments.