Microsoft opens April beta of Windows Intune service to testers

Microsoft is accepting tester applications for the next version of its Windows Intune service for managing and securing Windows PCs -- and soon iOS and Android devices.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is officially taking the wraps off the next version of its Windows Intune PC management and security service on April 18 at the Microsoft Management Summit 2012 show.

I blogged earlier this week about the expected feature set for the coming Windows Intune release, which Microsoft has confirmed in an April 18 blog post. As of today, Microsoft is allowing interested testers to sign up for the beta (or, as it is known in its documentation, "the April pre-release," of its PC management and security service) to testers.

The beta is limited to 10 PCs running Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista and/or Windows 7. Windows 8 Consumer Preview is not supported and "Windows Intune will not support Windows 8 until after it is generally available," Microsoft officials said in today's blog post.

Update: ZDNet UK is speculating that the new version of Windows Intune may be a key part of how Microsoft "manages" Windows RT (Windows on ARM) tablets. Could be....

The new release of Windows Intune includes the ability to download "licensed available line-of-business software applications" on devices running iOS and Android. According to the documentation, the new Intune release will support Windows Phones running version 7.0 or later of the Windows Phone OS; iPads, iPad 2s and iPhones running iOS 4.0 or later; and Android-based phones devices running Android 2.1 or later.

It also includes a new company portal; more granular deployment functionality; and enhancements to alerts, policy, updates and remote tasks. The new release is integrated with Active Directory Domain Services and the new and still somewhat cryptic Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD), which is the online directory service for Office 365.

Microsoft delivered version 2.0 of Windows Intune in October 2011. 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.  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).

Editorial standards