At Ignite last September, Microsoft unveiled its Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), which allows users to create a virtualization of Windows 7, Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus apps and third-party apps. With WVD, customers receive remote desktop sessions by running virtualizations in Azure virtual machines.

This week, Microsoft has expanded on the abilities of Windows Virtual Desktop. The company also seems to have fulfilled a promise to keep virtualization partners relevant despite WVD. Furthermore, Microsoft has also promised some virtualization improvements on Apple’s iPad.

One of the obvious concerns about WVD was that it would make Microsoft’s virtualization partners redundant. Citrix is one of those major collaborators and at its Citrix Summit this week, the company teamed with Microsoft to discuss details of WVD and mergence with other virtualization tools.

At first glance, it seems WVD is a one-stop-shop replacement for services like Citrix. Customers can run remote sessions of individual applications or the full desktop across platforms and devices. However, it is worth noting WVD is not yet available. Microsoft had scheduled a public preview before the end of 2018, but that never happened.

Keeping Partners in the Loop

At the Citrix Summit, the company now hinted at a preview release during the first quarter of this year. In terms of how Citrix and other virtualization partners can remain relevant, Microsoft says the company can integrate MVD into Citrix Workspace, Virtual Apps, and other services. This integration will mean Citrix now deems Azure to be its “preferred public cloud”.

That last part is interesting. It seems Microsoft will let virtualization tool developers join the WVD party, but at the cost of choosing Azure as a preferred cloud platform. In reality this is only a recommendation, because partners that “prefer” Azure can still use other cloud providers.

In a response to ZDNet, Citrix talked the benefits of the partnership:

“At the end of last year, Citrix and Microsoft reached an agreement to extend the capabilities of Windows Virtual Desktop with custom solutions that will help customers provision, monitor, and manage a seamless modern desktop experience for M365 (Microsoft 365) customers on Azure. With the solutions we’re building right now, customers in highly regulated industries like financial services and healthcare will be able to meet custom desktop virtualization needs the Windows Virtual Desktop, while addressing compliance regulations and secure access to sensitive data.”

Improving Virtualization on iPad

While Apple likes to tell us the iPad is a true laptop replacement, it truly isn’t because of several restrictions on iOS. Window Virtual Desktop will effectively allow users to run a remote Windows desktop on iPad.

Naturally, this opens plenty of potential for the market-leading tablet to become a more viable laptop alternative, and a more potent Surface Pro competitor. To further enhance computing capabilities on Apple’s slate, Microsoft is preparing mouse support for WVD on iPad.

Now Scott Manchester, Group Manager for Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Service, highlighted the new feature. It seems Swiftpoint GT and Microsoft Bluetooth mice will be supported.