On October 17, Microsoft made generally available the second version of its Windows Intune cloud-management service.
Windows Intune enables businesses to manage and secure PCs. It also provides users with rights to current and future versions of Windows -- similar to what they'd get if they signed up for Microsoft's Software Assurance volume-licensing program. Microsoft also is attempting to pitch Windows Intune as a way to get customers to move from Windows XP to Windows 7 because of the current/future Windows 7 rights.
Windows Intune is a Microsoft cloud service that provides IT pros with PC management and security for $11 per seat per month. (There's a free 30-day trial for users with up to 25 PCs available.)
Windows Intune is comprised of two components: On-premises Windows and Windows management tools, plus an online management and security service. Windows Intune evolved from a Microsoft project known as System Center Online Desktop Manager (SCODM).
The new (2.0) version of Intune supports third-party application updates and patching. It also will add the ability to perform remote IT tasks, and read-only access to the administration console and new reporting capabilities.
Update: Though many of us currently refer to the latest version as "Windows Intune 2.0" (to differentiate it from the first release, a Microsoft spokesperson noted that, going forward, this update will be known officially either as "just Windows Intune or the Windows Intune October 2011 release."
Current Windows Intune customers will be automatically upgraded “in the few weeks following October 17,” with no action required by customers, according to Microsoft officials. Current Intune users will see an alert displayed in the Windows Intune administration console, indicating the exact date and time when Intune will be updated. Those beta testing Intune 2.0 will see the beta close on November 17.
Microsoft released version 1.0 of Windows Intune in March 2011.
There's still no official date from the Softies as to when the company plans to integrate Windows Intune with Office 365, though that is the plan of record. The new Windows Intune FAQ (frequently asked questions) document notes that Office 365 and Windows Intune's portals are still separate and that the two cloud properties require separate logins.