Microsoft further expands mobile device management
New Windows flavors added to cloud and System Center platforms, and enhanced features for iOS and Android
Published: 16 January, 2013
Microsoft has been opening up to the reality of non-Windows mobile operating systems for some time, and it has now outlined its latest plans for managing a variety of devices as enterprises increasingly adopt mixed-platform and BYOD (bring your own device) strategies.
The software giant has officially unveiled its System Center 2012 system for managing Windows (including RT and WP8), iOS and Android products, along with a new version of its Windows Intune cloud-based management service.
The products are part of a broader Cloud OS management platform, which will be extended during the year and which increasingly provides an umbrella for most of its enterprise services in the Servers and Tools division - including Azure, Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server and Visual Studio.
Intune is now in its fourth release, adding Windows 8 and RT and Windows Phone 8 support. It is hosted on the Windows Azure public cloud. Although Microsoft made the big step of introducing non-Windows device support back in release 3.0, the new update is less dependent on the Exchange ActiveSync protocol for controlling mobile gadgets (except Android). This sees the environment being further opened up, and potential improvements to performance and integration into third party applications.
Other features include support for sideloading of corporate applications on Windows and RT mobile devices, while Intune provides a Company Portal app, which allows firms to populate their own area with the business software for their staff to install. Administrators can use an Intune add-on, which works with System Center Configuration Manager (the key mobile device management tool) to create an internal company portal or 'app store'.
According to ZDnet, Microsoft is offering Intune at two price levels - $6-per-user per monthly fee for a version without Software Assurance and Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack , or an $11 rate with the addition of that option.