The future of Windows will be dematerialized. On the occasion of CES 2024 Microsoft is revealing a little more about the future of its next operating system.

More and more IT activities are being carried out on remote machines or what is commonly called “the cloud”. Now that this model has established itself, especially given the limited memory of smartphones and the ubiquity of our devices, Microsoft wants to go even further. In the press release announcing the arrival of the Copilot key on forthcoming Windows PCs, the company admitted wanting to build an operating system that “blurs the lines between cloud and local processing”.

According to Microsoft, this new software model is essential if Windows wants to become “the reference in terms of artificial intelligence experience”. According to the company, it will be integrated into a new version of the operating system, possibly called Windows 12, which could launch as early as June 2024.

Artificial intelligence as we imagine it today requires cconsiderable computing power, which only specialised servers can provide. This is why ChatGPT costs a small amount of money to operate every day. If Windows wants to embed the Copilot solution (partially based on ChatGPT) deep into its next operating system, the next operating system will need a permanent Internet connection to function properly.

It is possible that language models could also be embedded in the operating system’s local storage, such as Google does with the Pixel 8, but these would necessarily be less efficient than those based on cloud. Perhaps this is the combination of AI that Microsoft is calling for when it talks about Windows 12 “blurring the lines between local and cloud”.

This is not must be the first time Microsoft has mentioned a cloud version of Windows. As of 2021, the company has been offering a Windows 365 solution, allowing professionals to have complete Windows in the cloud. More recently, we learned that Windows streaming could soon be made available to home users to provide “enhanced services powered by AI and complete roaming of users’ digital experience”.