Microsoft has confirmed its work on Universal Print, a cloud-based printing infrastructure designed to reduce complexity for the end-user. The service's general idea is to offer IT admins a simple way to deploy such services by moving Windows Server print functionality to the Microsoft 365 cloud.
This should cut out a major headache for some IT departments. They'll no longer have to manage print drivers, servers, and other complexities. Instead, they can register deployed printers with Universal Print. The service will run on the cloud rather than in-house servers, yet Azure AD users can discover and print in much the same way.
To aid this functionality, Microsoft is working with Canon to deliver printers geared specifically towards Universal Print. It says these native devices will deliver “the best cloud experience”, though it doesn't go into exact detail about what the advantages will be.
“The way people work is changing as cloud computing and technology continue to expand and evolve, driving digital transformation. Canon Inc.'s imageRUNNER ADVANCE and Office Printers provide the flexibility and scalability to address diverse workplace needs. In partnership with Microsoft, we are committed to supporting Universal Print and support our customers in their journey to the digital workplace,” said Isamu Sato, Senior General Manager, Office Imaging Products Operations, Canon Inc.
Despite this, schools and enterprises will be able to add existing using a print proxy application. Universal Print is currently available, but only in private preview for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education users. You can fill out the form here to apply for access, or read more via the official documentation.