Microsoft plans to make its Windows Intune cloud-management service available for trial or purchase on March 23 in 35 countries, company officials disclosed on February 28.
Windows Intune (codenamed “Florida”) is the successor to the never-released 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 officials told testers back in September 2010 that they were closing the Intune beta to new participants and would let select testers know about the availability of future test builds of the service. I don't know whether there were any private builds released in the interim, but there were not any new public ones.
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.
Windows Intune's goal is to provide IT professionals with a way to manage and secure PCs from anywhere. There are two components to Windows Intune: On-premises Windows and Windows management tools, plus an online management and security service.
Microsoft is not planning to make the Windows Intune product available earlier than March 23 to its volume licensees or MSDN/TechNet subscribers, officials said.