Microsoft seeks testers for next phase of Windows Intune management service

Microsoft is closing the beta of its Windows Intune management service to new participants, officials said on September 20. But the company is asking customers and partners who want automated notification of coming milestone releases to sign up to receive word of what's coming next.

Microsoft is closing the beta of its Windows Intune management service to new participants, officials said on September 20. But the company is asking customers and partners who want automated notification of coming milestone releases to sign up to receive word of what's coming next.

The "thousands" of partners and customers who are participants in the existing Intune beta participants will still be able to use the current beta, execs said.

Microsoft execs reconfirmed that Windows Intune still is expected to be generally available in 2011. (Earlier this summer, the word was "early 2011," but 2011, nonetheless.)

Windows Intune (codenamed "Florida") is the successor to the Microsoft project formerly known as System Center Online Desktop Manager (SCODM). Microsoft launched the initial beta, targeting 1,000 mid-size customers and partners, in April 2010. The service is meant to appeal to users who don't want to sign up for the company's Software Assurance annuity-licensing plan.

Microsoft execs have said Intune will cost $11 per seat, per month, which includes the management service, as well as Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights. For $1 per user per month more, Microsoft will also provide the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack of on-premises tools as part of the bundle.

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