Microsoft to unveil Enterprise Mobility Suite alongside Office for iPad

Microsoft to unveil Enterprise Mobility Suite alongside Office for iPad

Summary: Microsoft is readying a new Enterprise Mobility Suite bundle to help enterprise users better manage Windows, Android and iOS devices, sources say.


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is expected to unveil the long-rumored Microsoft Office for iPad suite on March 27. But there's another Microsoft "suite" that I'm hearing will debut on March 27, too.


That suite, a licensing bundle known as the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), is for large enterprise customers who need to manage centrally iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Windows devices and more, according to sources of mine who've requested anonymity.

Microsoft already offers cross-platform device management to enterprise users with Windows Server, System Center and Windows Intune. Microsoft officials talked up the company's enterprise device-management capabilities last October, noting that Microsoft technologies allow users to manage iOS, Android, Windows and Windows RT devices, applications, content and data.

EMS will provide a way for enterprises to acquire several Microsoft technologies for bring your own device (BYOD) scenarios, my tipsters say. Included in the suite are Windows Intune, a new Microsoft Azure Active Directory 'Premium' offering and Azure Rights Management Services.

(Active Directory Premium is a paid version of Azure Active Directory that provides capabilities including user self-service password reset; group-based application access; self-service group management; and other business-focused features of the cloud version of Active Directory.)

Windows Intune, which is Microsoft's cloud-based device management and security service, can handle heterogenous BYOD scenarios when coupled with Microsoft's System Center product. But Intune is being enhanced so it can manage thousands of devices from the cloud without requiring System Center, I hear. Intune also will soon support Windows Phone 8.1, which Microsoft is close to releasing to manufacturing, as well as the Samsung Knox BYOD security platform for Android devices.

I asked Microsoft officials for comment on EMS, but didn't hear back.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had "nothing to share."

Nadella is expected to announce Office for iPad and EMS on Thursday during a Webcast announcement from San Francisco. Microsoft officials have said they will stream the event starting at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on the Microsoft News Center.

Update (March 27): Here's Microsoft's official announcement of EMS. It includes the three components mentioned above: Azure Active Directory Premium, Intune and Azure Rights Management. The Windows Phone 8.1 and Android Knox support for Windows Intune is coming in April 2014, Microsoft officials say, as is availability of Azure Active Directory Premium. Enterprise customers can start purchasing the full EMS bundle as of May 1.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Cloud, Data Management, iOS, iPad, Microsoft, Bring Your Own Device, Windows Phone


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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  • New Ceo

    Mobile first, cloud first
    • This Is What MS Should've Done From The Get Go, But It May Be Too Late!

      after all, they are a software company first (albeit a horrible one).

      Getting their spaghetti code on every platform should've been job one.

      Instead of having a version of Office ready to roll with the first iPad some 4-years ago (which would"ve represented a veritable gold mine at the time), they wound up playing tidly winks for years until they could position Office for their ultimately sad mobile wares.

      Microsoft is lost in a storm.

      Like millions of other people, I sincerely believe they can't do ANYTHING right!
      • Really? A horrible software company?

        I really like Microsoft software. Office works great, Visual Studio is fantastic, SQL Server, Windows Server, etc. are all great and run beautifully for me. Sure, everything has its bugs, but nothing like Adobe Reader or Apple's iTunes for Windows which both are horrendous in bugs and great an making a windows computer less usable.
  • this is definitely a boon for iOS

    Platform. This ensures iPad can't be defeated by android in the near future, unless Microsoft pulls Office for Android also.
    Ram U
    • It will be pretty irrelevant for Apple sales

      I'm sure they can feel a positive effect, but it will be small enough.

      What is yet to be seen is how good this will be for MS, never thought much about it - I wouldn't be surprise with good results or irrelevant results.

      I think for MS this is a good strategy, go for iOS first with better profit margins, if it works with Apple devices I'm sure they will try to do the same for android.

      If it fails with iOS I'm sure it will fail with android - they should not even try it.
    • Nah

      I think what it means is that most people are going to make their services broadly available. We've already seen the smaller players, like EverNote and DropBox do this.... now with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft doing it, I think we're going to see a broader pattern in the industry of supporting a broad range of devices.

      It won't hurt Apple any, but won't be much of a boost either.
  • If...then...

    If Office for iPad requires a 365 subscription, it will be a bomb just like Windows 8. Microsoft just ain't gettin' it.
    • Amen brother

      Office for iPad should be offered both as a low cost standalone with an option to add 365 and the 365 subscription model. Big FAIL otherwise for most. Why is it everyone already knows this and Microsoft always the last to know after the damage is done?
    • I think the biggest deal is they don't want to

      give apple that 30% apps fee, especially if it does take off. Perhaps they could make a cheap several year "subscription" for those that want something closer to a standalone application.
      Sam Wagner
      • The current offerings

        The current office 365 apps from MS are at best underwhelming and need improvement. I hope in the quest for improvement they don't use the approach of throwing the kitchen sink in and turn it into an over-bloated mess.
        Alan Smithie
    • It will certainly require a subscription... well it should. Microsoft isn't going to give away Office as a $10 app on any platform, especially not with 30% of that revenue going to Apple. No other suite offers up competition for Office yet, so if you want to be in the Office ecosystem, then you gotta pay the subscription fee. This tablet version is just a value-add to the proposition.
    • "We shouldn't have to pay for a real version of Office"

      Dumbed down apps that inconsistently work with Office documents sell on the iOS App store for up to $20. Yet a version from Microsoft that WILL work with Office documents is supposed to be offered for what, $5? $7? Yet it's OK for Apple to charge $25 A YEAR to store music in the cloud that you already bought and paid for (iTunes Match). Get a clue.
  • Tablet

    Phew. Good thing tablets are just a fad and only good for fart apps.


    Now can we finally say tablets can be used for "real work" now that MS has officially blessed the tablet market?
    • Maybe...

      ...when iOS actually allows mousing. Fact is this will not be a full version of Office by any means. It will not have ODBC hooks or macros or VB and .Net scripting, etc.

      In other words it will more likely be for consumption and some markup/tweaking, not "real work". There are plenty of really good full Windows tablets out there now if you want a productivity device.
      Rann Xeroxx
      • See?

        There's your first (among many) mistakes. You don't have to have a mouse to do real work nor do you have to have a Windows tablet.

        Try again.
        • Depends

          Why limit a input method? Its the same Apple BS that for years fought against the right button and scroll wheel on mice... for no reason whatsoever.

          You use touch when touch is bet. You use a active digitizer when that works best. You use voice, keyboard, camera captured gestures when those work best.

          But a vast amount of detail oriented work is just so very much easily done with a mouse, period. Heck, most video gamers will tell you that even gaming works better with a mouse. Again, no reason in the world to limit mouse ability, even Android has mousing. This just limits iOS's usefulness for zero gain.
          Rann Xeroxx
          • Again

            That's where you're wrong. Why limit an input method? Why do I HAVE to have a mouse / digitizer to do real work?

            Just because a tablet does not have those doesn't mean you can't do real work. Maybe YOUR real work requires them. Mine does not.

            "Real work" is different for different people.
  • finally some focus

    on getting recurring revenue streams (subscriptions for office, security/management, etc.) from more and more and more devices than just selling windows to new devices. Windows on PCs and MS software on the same employee's other 2 devices (tab+phone).
  • Enterprise Mobility Suite alongside Office for iPad

    Office for iPad is just a classic blocking move - office will be around long after the iPad in its entirety let alone the current Air or Mini is so much recycling - if MS get their strategy right. I think tis move is long overdue.

    The Mobility Suite is one of the best marketing flanking moves I've seen in a long time. MS aren't even well placed enough tablet wise to go head to head with Apple/Android. Best they can hope for is to first to some feature or other. As it happens, I think the whole Touch Window metaphor in 8.1 is head and shoulders above iOS or Android, but I'm weird like that.

    Mobility for the Enterprise is something that MS clients will take seriously immediately. That will give the Tablet technology group a door to push at that will remain open far longer than it might based on the competitive prowess of the tablets themselves. This is a very clever, very safe move for MS.
  • why would msft do this given citrix is a close partner?

    Microsoft shares its source code with citrix for app and desktop virtualization and citrix bought a company to focus on this space because they think its their future. they would effectively be wiping out the growth opportunity for citrix if they did this. any thoughts? and how far behind is microsoft in functionality from MobileIron, Airwatch, etc?