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Microsoft Unites Windows 365, Azure Virtual Desktop Under Windows Superstar Scott Manchester

Wade Tyler Millward

LAN Infotech CEO Michael Goldstein says he expects the shakeup to lead to bigger sales growth for both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365. ‘There is huge momentum right now behind both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365,’ he says.

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Scott Manchester

Microsoft is combining its Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 units under Scott Manchester, a 21-year Microsoft veteran who is the architect of the Microsoft cloud workspace plan, a source close to Microsoft told CRN.

Manchester, who has been the Windows 365 director of program management for nearly three years, effectively started the Azure Virtual Desktop march a decade ago as the original group program manager for Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), the source told CRN.

The source expects the shakeup to accelerate sales of both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365, with Manchester—who holds 24 patents—driving a higher degree of “integration and collaboration across the full Microsoft portfolio and ecosystem.”

[RELATED: Microsoft Unveils Windows 365, A Web-Streamed Virtual Desktop Service For Hybrid Work]

The stepped-up Microsoft cloud workspace march comes with Azure Virtual Desktop sales soaring in the wake of the pandemic and amid turmoil with VDI competitors Citrix and VMware. “Microsoft sees an opening to accelerate even faster versus Citrix and VMware with its own branded VDI and DaaS [Desktop as-a-Service] solution,” the source said.

The shakeup comes as the lines between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop are blurring, the source told CRN. “Five to 10 years from now there will be no Azure Virtual Desktop, which is just a gateway to Microsoft 365,” said the source. “It’s all in the cloud. Microsoft is looking for more speed, innovation and adoption in cloud workspace with a single leader. Scott Manchester provided the vision for the Microsoft cloud workspace strategy. He is the right man at the right time.”

Azure Virtual Desktop Director Kam VedBrat, a 24-year Microsoft veteran, said in a LinkedIn post on Saturday that he is no longer heading up the Azure Virtual Desktop team.

“This week I celebrated my last day working on Azure Virtual Desktop,” said VedBrat in the LinkedIn post. “Over the last three years I’ve been humbled by the overwhelming customer response to the service, and seeing organizations around the world use AVD (Azure Virtual Desktop) for so many scenarios across so many industries.”

CRN reached out to Manchester and VedBrat but had not heard back at press time.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech —a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Microsoft partner and member of CRN’s 2022 Managed Service Provider 500 —told CRN in an interview that he expects Manchester to do well in the new role. “Scott will be a perfect fit for that, coming from the development side,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein said he expects the shakeup to lead to bigger sales growth for both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365. “There is huge momentum right now behind both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365, “ he said “Customers are realizing this is a cost effective and secure way of providing work at home solutions for employees.”

Windows 365 makes it affordable for customers to move to a cloud workspace product, said Goldstein. “Nobody has anything out there like Windows 365,” he said. “It is a cost effective way to introduce customers to a cloud workspace. Windows 365 is a stepping stone to Azure Virtual Desktop. The Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop technologies are very similar.”

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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