Getting started with Microsoft Azure RemoteApp

This desktop-as-a-service offering allows access to Office and more.

It has always been part of the Microsoft vision: Your users can work anywhere, on any device, and it will all be secure, synchronized and responsive. But the execution of this vision has unfortunately had many holes in it: With Microsoft not playing nice in the licensing department, how was anyone to offer a truly mobile, cost-effective Windows desktop without needing a mobile device that ran Windows?

Those days may be over as Microsoft Azure RemoteApp comes to the forefront. Let's take a look at this new service, how to get started with it and what it means for both the enterprise and for the consumer space.

What is Microsoft Azure RemoteApp?

Do you remember the OnLive saga? Allow me to whisk you back to January 2012, when, at the Consumer Electronics Show, OnLive announced the OnLive Desktop service. This was essentially a dedicated Windows 7 virtual machine, containing an installation of Microsoft Office, which you could log into from iPads and Android devices.

This of course immediately set off alarm bells within Microsoft, as Windows 7 was not licensed to be used in that type of service provider setting -- only Windows Server 2008, appropriately covered by a service provider licensing agreement, was permitted there. Threats ensued and OnLive quickly switched to a Windows Server-based deployment to settle these issues.

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