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Users have been enjoying Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview over the last few weeks and now enterprise users get their turn. Today Microsoft announced availability for their Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview. The new enterprise build adds premium features to the platform that improve mobility, security, management, and virtualization.

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If there were one area where Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices should be doing well it is within business. Nokia have just posted a new video extolling the headline features of Windows Phone 8 to the corporate crowd.

Even though Windows Phone has a whole feature set designed to be consumer friendly, it also has arguably the best office friendly apps too, mobile office anyone?

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Good Technology has released their annual report detailing the spread of device activations for Q2. Good are well known for being at the forefront of providing technology for IT departments to facilitate users who wish to use their own devices for work, commonly referred to as BYOD, or to allow departments to use technology that's not quite as secure or manageable out of the box. The premise is simple; the software provides a heavily encrypted shell to keep corporate email private and secure. Windows Phone is making its presence known in the workplace according to this report.

The Good Windows Phone client was only debuted in April 2012 but already it’s showing as accounting for 1.2% of the overall activations. Bear in mind that the lion’s share of activations are currently going to the non-enterprise friendly, but current executive fondle-thing-business toy, the IPad. The iPad is accounting for a whopping 94.5 of all activations.

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Unofficial Lync app for Windows Phone on the way

While we're still waiting on Lync to arrive with Mango, hopefully within the next two weeks, we've also found out that Damaka, a mobile unified communications company in Texas, is planning to bring Xync to the platform. Xync is their answer for mobile Lync across a number of platforms including Android, iOS and Symbian.

Matt Landis recently interviewed Ramesh Chaturvedi from Damaka and received the following answer to one of the questions:

Definitely Windows Phone will be targeted. Remember our history with Windows Mobile? We made video on WM6.1 back in 2006 and Windows is important to us. We definitely will target Windows Phone. Up until now the lack of Windows Phone camera API has been the hold up. The camera API should be available to us this month and then we will start work.

Interesting stuff, it will be great to see what Microsoft brings with its offering. We did see a demo at TechEd 2011 in New Zealand of Lync for Windows Phone by Microsoft and found out they were looking to bring the client to other platforms too. Check out the full interview over at Matt's blog (link below).

Source: Matt Landis, via: WPSauce

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Though we know Microsoft built Windows Phone 7 1.0 around consumers first, it sure has a lot to offer businesses as well. To get that message across, Microsoft just put out a "Small Business Mobility Kit" which consists of one PowerPoint file and one PDF documenting in detail how and why Windows Phone 7 will work for you. They even have a new website focusing just on this area: www.windowsphone.com/business.

The main thrust is of course Office, Shareppoint and the new Office 365 (cloud service). At the very least we know Microsoft hasn't forgotten about their bread and butter that is enterprise. We'll be watching to see adoption rates over the next six to twelve months to see if it pans out.

Source: Microsoft

 

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Although Windows Phone 7's first generation is clearly aimed at consumers with a few bones thrown at enterprise (though lets not knock Mobile Office and Skydrive), it does have some holes in it that may cause some companies to hesitate to deploy upon launch e.g. no side-loading of custom enterprise software.

One of those holes looks to be filled, at least by a 3rd party company called Odyssey Software who make the Athena remote device management program for large corporations. Odyssey supports iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and now Windows Phone 7, bringing a bit more control for those companies who can integrate the tech into their servers. Such features are as follows:

  • Live, remote control of devices in the field
  • Device software, application and patch provisioning and installation
  • Comprehensive software and hardware asset information
  • Location based data via GPS (current and bread crumb)
  • Detailed phone and messaging information and stats
  • Security to protect sensitive data (device lock & wipe)

While we're no IT people and know little about this end of the technology spectrum, that sure sounds like some powerful software over corporate deployed phones. It'll be even better if and when Windows Phone 7 starts to support this stuff directly, but until then at least there is this solution.

Source: TMCnet (press release)

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Shakeup at Microsoft?

The eminent Wall Street Journal is reporting late last night that Microsoft may be significantly altering its corporate structure around the division focused on videogames, mobile phones and other consumer devices (e.g. Zune, Ford Sync).

As we reported earlier, J Allard is sadly still expected to be leaving Microsoft. The WSJ is also backing up the story that his departure is a result of the Courier cancellation.

Likewise, Robbie Back, who oversees the Xbox Live and Mobile division, may also be part of the re-organization process, reportedly as a result of Microsoft's continued poor performance against Google and Apple. This is especially evident as we are on the eve of Apple surpassing Microsoft for the #2 spot on the S&P 500, which though not ultimately important, is certainly symbolic and revealing.

This may also just be routine with Microsoft preparing for the emergence of Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal in the fall. Either way, we hope it works out.

Update: Robbie Bach is retiring in the fall; J Allard is leaving; transition plan detailed

Update 2Leadership Profiles: Andy Lees & Don Mattrick. Andy Lees, who will lead the Windows Phone 7/KIN teams, will report directly to Ballmer starting July 1st

Update 3: Ballmer's letter to the employees about the changes (via ZDNet)

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