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There has been much debate within Microsoft on whether to make its Windows OS available for iOS and Android users, One the one hand, estimates are that a full-scale version of Windows available on iOS could result in well over a billion dollars per year in extra revenue for Microsoft, which is no small amount. On the downside, Microsoft would have to share 30% of this revenue with Apple, and this strategy might well also undermine one of consumers main reasons for purchasing one of Microsoft’s Surface tablets.

Several months later Microsoft has made the decision to split the difference between these two options. In a recent blog post, Olof Mases, program manager on the Remote Desktop Virtualization team, announced via blog post that Microsoft is now offering Windows users the ability to access their Windows PCs via any iOS or Android device. Now, iOS and Android users can remotely access their stationary Windows PC via their smartphone or tablet using the “Remote Desktop Protocol” (RDP).

Microsoft’s Mases’ blog post provides the following summary:

“We are excited to introduce clients with best of class performance and security including Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 8.0 and RemoteFX. You can experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help you get your work done wherever you are.

With these apps users can access:

  • Their PCs (Windows Pro and Enterprise versions)
  • Session-based desktops
  • Personal or pooled virtual desktops
  • RemoteApp programs”

While many would no doubt have preferred to see Microsoft make available a full-scale Office app downloadable directly to their iOS or Android device, Microsoft’s announcement is at least a step in the right direction. Microsoft clearly understands that hundreds and millions of people split their computing between their Office PCs and their IOS or Android mobile devices, and Microsoft seems to be dipping its toe into this market while it decides whether or not to take the final step of making a full-fledged version of Office available on its’ competitors’ mobile devices. This will likely be a decision for Steve Ballmer’s successor as Microsoft’s CEO to make early in his or her tenure.

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