Microsoft is issuing an update to Intune, its cloud-based mobile-device management (MDM) solution that offers new functionality while dispensing with its signature branding.
The service update is being rolled out between Nov. 17 and Nov. 18, announced the Microsoft Intune team in a blog post today. The update applies to the stand-alone edition of Intune. (The product is also available as part of Microsoft's bundled Enterprise Mobility Suite solution.)
Intune is a PC and mobile-device and -application management solution that enables enterprises to configure and secure their end-user IT environments. Supported platforms include Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
"During this update, you may not be able to log in to the Intune administration console," warned Microsoft. The Intune status page can help customers plan around the scheduled maintenance.
After logging back in, administrators will notice a new interface. Added to the list of features is the ability to implement policies and app administration according to device groups as well as bulk device enrollment on a single account.
The update also allows users to lock down supervised iOS and Samsung KNOX (kiosk mode) devices and configure per-app virtual private networks (VPN) for iOS devices. According to Microsoft, the remainder of the new features include the following:
- the ability to restrict access to Exchange on-premises email, based on device enrollment;
- the ability to report on and allow or block a specific set of applications;
- the enforcement of application install or uninstall;
- the deployment of certificates, email, VPN and WiFi profiles;
- the ability to push free store apps to iOS devices;
- remote pin reset for Windows Phone 8.1 devices;
- multifactor authentication at enrollment for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices;
- the ability to restrict administrator access to a specific set of user and device groups; and
- updated Company Portal apps to support customizable terms and conditions.
One thing missing is its former Windows branding. Microsoft's bloggers said that users will "notice that all references to Windows Intune have been updated to Microsoft Intune," after their accounts reflect the new update. "This name more accurately represents Intune's cloud-based mobile-device management (MDM) and mobile-application management (MAM) capabilities across iOS and Android platforms, as well as Windows," they added.
The change aligns with a "mobile-first, cloud-first" product strategy that prioritizes the development of cloud-enabled technologies and embraces competing platforms. Last week, Microsoft made headlines by announcing that it was open-sourcing its popular .NET framework and taking the technology cross-platform to Linux and the Mac.
S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, told eWEEK's Darryl K. Taft that the move is a "huge step forward" for his company. "More importantly, I think it's a great step forward for our existing .NET developers to think about a broader set of opportunities and reaching a broader set of platforms and a broader set of customers," he continued. An open-source .NET also helps burnish Microsoft's developer-friendly image.
"Moreover, there are a number of people who are excited about the benefits of .NET and what .NET can do for them, but they had felt constrained in the past that they couldn't use it on Linux or something else," he said. "We feel it is goodness for our existing guys and for net new guys."