Microsoft reveals more about how enterprise will manage Windows Phone 8

We have already seen with the initial announcement of Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft is much more serious about building enterprise features into their next OS. Along with better security through full device encryption and secure-boot technologies Microsoft will allow business to deploy apps directly to the phone.

Currently the only way to manage a Windows Phone device is through the ActiveSync framework but this isn’t able to provide the level of granularity that micro-managing Systems Administrators need. Microsoft has now revealed that their In Tune product will provide the one stop shop for device management for Windows Phone 8 and also WinRT tablets. Hopefully this should mean much wider adoption of Windows Phone in the enterprise considering it will play nicely with existing Microsoft technologies.

The post does not go into much detail of what exactly will be manageable but does say that the cloud based solution will allow setting of mobile policies, distribute apps and view reports. We’d expect this to mean that the solution will sit somewhere in between full Active Directory management and the currently lightweight controls of ActiveSync.

Ever since Microsoft announced that WinRT tablets would not be able to join a domain there has been much fretting about the enterprise story for these new tablets. This should ease some concerns for system administrators who thought WinRT tablets would save them from having to deal with iPads and their associated security issues and lack of familiar, integrated management tools.

It’s unlikely that these tools will be restricted to Microsoft’s own smart devices, we’re sure that Android (opens in new tab) and iOS (opens in new tab) will also get support too. However, as Microsoft fully controls its own platform and services the level of integration could go deeper and provide a key selling point for Windows Phone.

Even the current version of Windows Phone has brilliant business credentials, an email client that is simply unbeatable when running against Exchange and of course Office built right in. Windows Phone 8 and these associated management tools should remove any last obstacles for business to start adopting it fully. It’s highly unlikely that Microsoft will leave out other Smart devices from this toolset, its whole purpose is to help with the problems encountered with the current trend of “bring your own device” in the workplace.

Source: TechNet

Robert Brand
  • I think you mean "Microsoft has NOW revealed...", not not.
  • lol i was confused by that for abit
  • Good Spot, now corrected.. :)
  • When are people going to finally realize that WP is the best, most well rounded platform around??..... In time, in time..
  • People will "finally" realize it when the OS actually feels "finalized".  WP7 has so many wtf oversights that make it hard to accept it's actually intended to complement other Microsoft products.  Here's one I'm reminded of at least a few times a day - I can't snooze a meeting reminder to any time that would make sense...yet outlook offers a ton of options.  In 2 years, this hasn't changed at all.
  • Stop whining,I don't see the big deal about that
  • And how often to you use reminders??  I do quite a bit and it is a PITA, especially when you go to take a picture and the dumb thing is blocking the camera screen!  If I had the ability to snooze an appropriate time, then I wouldn't have to keep pushing incremental snoozes.
    Don't belittle someones frustration because it doesn't bother you.
  • I run about 10+ a day as an HR manager and it has never been a problem. Hit the damn snooze and move on. I'm pretty sure the reminder is a bit more important than taking a pic, watching Netflix or playing a game.
  • It's not hitting the snooze that is a problem, it's the limited number of snooze options.  Let's say you want to snooze until the end of the work must snooze for 4 hours, then snooze again for 4 hours.  Want to snooze 12 hours?   Snooze 3 more times.  Take a look at Outlook reminders, notice how much thought went into those snooze times?  They make sense.  We're talking about the same company here.
  • Right, it's whining...and may result in me going to the competition because they cared abou ttheir product enough to make it work the way it should.  Then you'll blame the lack of sales on poor marketing - it's these little things that the competition gets right that make WP7 that much less appealing.
  • By the way, this was just one example.  There's a point where enough whining means something is actually wrong. However, it seems that people are so gungho about this OS not being iOS or Android that they're willing to put blinders on and preach about how the general public just can't see how great it is...I can't subscribe to this mindset.
  • It seems like you only highlight negative points about WP7. iPhone and Android ate not even close to the office functionality that WP provides, at least for my needs.
  • It seems that way because this site happens to be nothing but blind praise for WP7.  As an Enterprise device, it's sorely lacking, even moreso than the competition which makes no sense considering it was born from Windows Mobile.
  • There are missing features in all OSes. BB users will point at iPhone and say "it doesn't do this, it doesn't do that" Stuff that BB has had for years. What you have to realise is, that the scope of most users needs is pretty narrow.
    If if a device or OS hits 80% of users that is probably good enough.
    If you need the granulairty of Outlook, use Outlook.
  • Yes, there are "missing features" in all OSes.  Hey, why don't I just use a kitchen timer if my phone doesn't have a timer function?  I don't know if you realize this or not but we're talking about what can't possibly be more than a few lines of code and a little bit of forethought.
  • I agree with you 100%. There is a group of irritating users on here that insist on abusing other users opinions when it doesn't effect them in the slightest. i.e. someone says "I want feature A" or "Feature B should do this" and the idiots reply with the ever helpful "stop whinging" or "i don't need that feature so you don't either" or "deal with it". Yes, very helpful guys... The way to make the platform better is to change it, not put up with crap.
  • As much as I love WP7, I do have to agree with Iconoclysm.  Sure, his complaints can be called "whining."  However, nobody cares what we think.  Nobody cares what Microsoft thinks, either (or Apple or Google for that matter).  What people care about is what's shown.  If Apple and Google can do something as simple as snoozing an alarm better than Microsoft, then that's a point for the competition. 
    It's like baseball: sometimes the little things matter: stealing bases, base-runners going on a 3-2 count, running like hell with 2 outs despite a chance at the fielder catching a fly ball, taking walks when at bat, throwing to a relay fielder instead of directly toward home from center field on a sacrifice fly, etc.  Although chicks dig the long ball, sometimes small ball wins games. 
    In this case, Microsoft needs to play better small ball as well as better "big ball."  WP7 can do a lot of cool things, but until Microsoft begins to do EVERYTHING better than Apple and Google, they're going to continue to be out of their league. 
  • @Get It Started - Good for you. Other people do have an issue with it, and your world-view isn't the same for everyone else.
  • Anyone see that Dropbox logo in that PC indicative of something in lines of Dropbox acquired by MSFT kind of headlines later? Or they just used Dropbox sort of logo for one of their products i.e. SkyDrive?
  • I think that represents that it works "right out of the box"
  • Also Windows Phone 7 deals extremely well with Microsoft DRM protected documents. Only platform I know. Let's hope that integration goes further ahead of the competitors.
  • How about VPN? Still waiting...
  • Get over it
  • Meanwhile, iOS has had VPN support since 2008 - many Enterprise customers can't use their phone for work without VPN.
  • Windows Mobile had VPN support even before that!
  • Doesn't that make this that much more ridiculous?
  • Look to server 2012 and "Direct Access."   I'm not sure it will work with WP8 but my guess is that they would add this level of support before VPN.
  • Direct Access isn't new to Server 2012, and it may well be in WP8.  Yet it's still just as lame that no Remote Access solution was available in WP7.
  • @Iconoclysm
    Good point.
  • Nope.
    What is ridiculous is running a VPN on your phone :)
    I watched someone run Junos Pulse on his iPad. Punch in his RSA key.
    Hit the Citrix Menu, select and start his app. Log into the RDP session. Then log into the App.
    Switching to the software keyboard  back and forth as he went.
    It was awful. Needless to say, our users do not do this :)
    Some tunnels are ok. I quite like the Good Technology sandbox, its a neat idea.
    But VPN clients, to tunnel into an infrastructure to use which app exactly?
    (Only a techie would "wish" for VPN on open forum <or someone "trying" to point out gaps>)
    I'm sure you'll tell us all in a minute why this is life or death for you ;)
  • VPN doesn't necessarily mean the scenario you're describing (two factor, Citrix, RDP) but obviously there are organizations where that is the only option...and they can't use WP7 to get there.
    Have you never considered the simple luxuries of having access to the corporate intranet?  How about government orgs that expose virtually nothing to the outside?  We are talking about using a phone for the Enterprise here, right?  While it's wonderful when everything's exposed, it's certainly not the norm in the Enterprise.
  • IOS may have had VPN since 2008 but I could never get it to work on my 3GS over 3G which made it useless.
  • So WP7 missed a great opportunity to outdo the competition...
  • How about they FIX the issue where you can't view attachments in the email client when running against exchange. I don't know if the email client is unbeatable. My iPhone worked very well...and it didn't have that attachment issue. It will make you crazy!
  • Hmm yeah... You have to click to download the attachments, watch them all fail, synch again, and *then* you can view them. I think it's only with Exhange 2003 or something... But yes, very annoying.
    Also, you have to email ssl certificates to yourself and can't install from the browser (for self-signed cert I believe).
  • I dont have any issue with attachments... I sync from a 2007 Exhcange Server and a 2010 Exchange server. If you are using 2003 Exchange, WP is just like every other phone with a few odd issues that are rooted in the fact that in 2003, active sync was a baby bolted onto exchange. It was an amazing feat at the time, along with HTTP over RPC. The root of the problem is that mainstream support for Exchange 2003 ended in 2009.
  • I can tell you that WP connects just fine with attachments on
    Exhange 2003
    Exchange 2007
    Exchange 2010
    Office 365
    Right now, I am looking at an attachment from an email on an Exchange 2003 server, with Windows Phone 7.5
    It works. If it doesn't for you, its your infrastructure.
  • I've seen this issue occur with Exchange 2007 and a Verizon HTC Trophy.  Download a PDF attachment, and it fails (and yes, the Adobe Reader app was installed on the phone).  It seems to coincide with using self-signed certificates...
  • Lucky me, I never had this issue.
  • MS In Tune is not used by enterprises. System Center Configuration Manager is the enterprise software. In Tune is for small potatoes.
  • right... and it would pretty expensive at the current prices if you had to pick it up just for WP support.  That would be a huge blow to the enterprise push.  Even Blackberry realized that charging for BES was keeping SMBs from using BES.  Hopefully there will be some form of a mobile device manager that can be installed on exchange or file servers.  Even SCCM would be prohibitive because many enterprises are using other products.  Microsoft should be looking at enterprises with the notion of "How can we simplify and improve things for admins so they want to see users carrying WP smartphones."   Anything more than a free componet you can add on to an existing server will be asking too much.
  • I don't think MS is counting on any enteprise to purchase SCCM just for WP8. They are more likely aiming for Enterprises already using SCCM to start purchasing WinRTs and WP8s instead of apple or android phones and tablets. And as for InTune, the licensing changes are kinda exciting. The current prices are high, cause currently the subscription covers a Windows Enterprise Upgrade Licence, which is pretty much useless for SMBs. The subscription with no desktop software upgrade rights could be as cheap as $4 instead of $11. However, since the new per-User licensing in InTune enables management of up to five devices per "CAL", I'm afraid the new price will be more like $8 to make up for it. 
  • double post
  • Goodbye Blackberry, your BES will be rendered as a costly redundancy. WP8, the new de facto standard for enterprise handheld device.
  • I'm not sure if this is a bit out of context, but I work for the US government and BlackBerrys are the phone of choice. Today, while in a conference, an Army Colonel was actually concerned that BlackBerry (RIM) seemed to be dying out because they were the only company the government liked to use for our mobile phones due to the security features built into BlackBerry's. I responded and let the colonel know that Windows Phone 8 will be one of the most secure platforms a mobile phone has ever come out with. I sure hope Microsoft gets Windows Phone 8 into the hands of the government, maybe I'll be issued a brand new Windows Phone 8. Microsoft is already a major software provider for the US Government, and mobile partnership would make a lot of sense and be very convenient.
  • Yes, it's just a shame that WP7 couldn't have laid the groundwork for all of this.
  • My company recently took WP7 out of its list of offerings becaues of security. Hopefully this will get WP back in the mix.
  • Hey guys :) I use another app for remote access with WP8 - it doesn't require installation, works through the browser and has very easy access