Microsoft is moving its Windows Server print functionality to Azure and christening the resulting product as its Universal Print Service. As of today, March 2, Universal Print is now in private preview and open to those who register for it.
Microsoft is targeting the new cloud printing service at Microsoft 365 commercial and educational customers. The service allows IT admins to deploy and manage centrally their organizations' printers which are connected to their Windows 10 devices joined via Azure Active Directory.
Microsoft watcher WalkignCat (@h0x0d on Twitter) unearthed information last week about the coming private preview of the Azure Universal Print service.
Microsoft execs are telling customers they'll get the best cloud printing experience when using printers that natively support Universal Print. Those kinds of printers don't exist yet, but officials said they're working with partners, and Canon, in particular, to get these kinds of devices into the market. Existing printers can use a Universal Print proxy application to connect to the service.
Google beat Microsoft to market with its own cloud print service, which has been in beta for the past decade. But late last year, Google announced that as of January 1, 2021, devices would no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print.