Microsoft to add VPN support to Windows Phone 8 in 2014

Microsoft to add VPN support to Windows Phone 8 in 2014

Summary: Microsoft is readying a new Enterprise Pack for Windows Phone 8, due out in the first half of 2014.


Microsoft is planning to deliver a Windows Phone Enterprise Feature Pack for Windows Phone 8 in the first half of 2014, officials announced on July 10 at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference.

  • The Enterprise Feature Pack will include the following set of features:
  • S/MIME support for mail encryption
  • Auto-triggered VPN (which seems to mean VPN that is automatically triggered by specific apps, if it is like the auto-triggered VPN in Windows 8.1)
  • Extended mobile device management
  • Certificate Management

The new pack will be available some time in the first half of 2014, said Tony Mestres, Vice President of Windows Phone Partner and Channel. 

Microsoft already was not expected to add VPN support to Windows Phone 8 in this calendar year. VPN was not planned to be part of any of the three General Distribution Releases (GDRs) -- the minor updates to Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft is in the midst of rolling out in calendar 2013.

It's not clear whether the Enterprise Feature Pack will require Windows Phone "Blue," which according to my sources is an early 2014 deliverable. I've asked Microsoft officials for more details and will update this post if and when I get them.

Update No. 1: A Microsoft spokesperson declined to answer my question about whether the Enterprise Pack will have any Windows Phone Blue dependences. The official statement: "The enterprise feature pack will be part of an upcoming update to Windows Phone 8."

Update 2: Microsoft also announced it is lengthening its support lifecycle for Windows Phone from 18 months to 36 months. Starting with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft will make updates, including all security updates, available for three years.

"These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it. The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities," according to a new post on the Windows Phone blog.

Topics: Windows Phone, Microsoft, Mobility, Networking, Security


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Great News!

    You can definitely see how MS has a deliberate incremental update strategy for WP8. As WP8 user, I wish the updates were now, but I will take them later also.
    • Unfortunately...

      I could live with the time tables if I just knew what to expect and when instead of wondering whether they hear our requests and were going to do it or not.
    • A VPN with a backdoor

      So much for privacy.
      • WTF?

        In the words of Bill Gates, "That's the stupidest ****ing thing I've ever heard."
        • Not when the government insists on it

          You M$ tool.
    • Good Replied

      as Melvin responded I'm shocked that some people able to get paid ($)8363 in four weeks on the computer. did you look at this web link... can99.ℂ­om
    • Re: MS has a deliberate incremental update strategy for WP8

      Slowly adding features that the competition has already had from the get-go.
      • Yeah, just like Android and iOS had Office in their smarphones before WP8..

        Is that what you meant?

        When it comes to enterprise computing and features, neither Android or iOS can even begin to compete with what MS can provide.
      • Re: Slowly adding features that the competition has already had from the ge

        And in 2015, look for the ability to write wi-fi analyzer apps!
  • VPN of choice

    It needs to support Cisco AnyConnect and Microsoft's own Direct Access.
    • We'll see...

      You can assume that it will match the existing Windows VPN support for sure. Direct Access-- oh yes, we can hope-- would be great and obvious. Cisco, well, it would be smart and obvious but extremely unlikely. I would, however, be satisfied if they opened up a means for Cisco to develop their own app/service for Win8.1/WinPhone8.1.
      • I'd be happy with ANYTHING

        Leaving it open doesn't mean that we'll get it. The only reason I have an iPad is for VPN support for my job. Not allowed to use anything else and nothing else will connect. If they had Cisco VPN in Win Phone 8.1 and allowed for Bluetooth keyboard/mice, my Lumia 1520 would just keep getting more use.
        Lauren Glenn
  • Microsoft is still two steps behind.

    Nokia should really have staid with Symbian and MeeGo which did both support VPN for years.
    • Yeah...

      ...that really served them well financially. Not.
      • Re: ...that really served them well financially. Not.

        The N9 sold better than any of Nokia's Lumia models, in all of the markets where it was permitted to be released, IN SPITE of the fact that Elop made it clear, right from launch day, that it would be an orphan.
    • Maemo/Meego

      I remember Nokia being absolutely harrassed when when they launched the VPN for Maemo/Meego and it wasn't functioning perfectly right off the bat. When was that, back in 2008?
  • While this is certainly good news, I'm curious

    What percentage of smartphone owners use VPN? I had it (I think?) on my iphone 4 and ipad 2. I say "I think" because I never used it, never needed it. I heard that my Nokia Lumia 920 didn't have VPN and this was one reason I was told by certain "unbiased" ZDNet posters that I shouldn't buy it. Said by me, never: I can't do what I want to do because I don't have VPN.

    Now granted, I'm only 1 example which is why I ask about the percentage of users who need this. If it is 99%, MS made a mistake not implementing it sooner. If it is 1%, then MS prioritized this correctly, assuming that there weren't the time or the resources to do absolutely everything MS wanted to do with v1.
    • It's a small set of users

      I would use it if it were available for one reason. Integration to my company's sharepoint server, which is behind the firewall and doesn't allow public access. And if they put that in then perhaps we'll also get the ability for 3rd party clients, like Cisco and F5, which would be really nice.

      I'd be willing to bet that less than 5% of the users at my company use it though and we're a large scale solutions provider where everyone is on bleeding edge. So if our engineers don't really use it much I see it being less of an issue at most companies.
      • I agree with LiquidLearner

        We had Windows Phone 7.5 devices configured to use UAG meaning we had great connectivity to our internal SharePoint farm. The option to configure a UAG connection at all went with WP8 and we could never understand why. It just seemed to us that Microsoft believed all WP8 customers were on Office 365! I just hope the email clients can be smart enough to open the VPN connection to open links to documents in SharePoint without having to externalise the farm.
    • Re: What percentage of smartphone owners use VPN?

      In other words, how much is it really likely to help dismal Windows Phone sales?

      I'll give you one guess.