Microsoft opens Windows Phone to external MDM providers

Microsoft will partner third-party mobile device management providers to help enterprises better manage and deploy internal apps for Windows Phone 8 devices across their organizations.

SINGAPORE--Microsoft will not be limiting enterprises deploying Windows Phone 8-based handsets to use its Systems Center 2012 and Intune tools to manage them. In fact, it will be partnering third-party mobile device management (MDM) providers to help businesses with the deployment and management of internal work apps.

According to Andre Ngo, Windows Phone specialist at Microsoft Asia-Pacific, one of the main appeals of Redmond's latest iteration of its mobile operating system (OS) is the management capabilities it provides to IT professionals to cope with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend .

Ngo told ZDNet Asia on Tuesday the two main tools for enterprises looking to manage Windows Phone 8 devices would be its on-premise System Center 2012 Configuration Manager tool, and its cloud-based Windows Intune offering.

An earlier Microsoft blog in September stated : "Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT devices will be managed by the next release of Windows Intune. IT pros will have the flexibility of using either the Windows Intune or Configuration Manager 2012 Service Pack (SP) 1 console to set mobile security policies, distribute mobile apps and view reports.

Redmond subsequently stated the next version of Windows Intune will hit the market in early 2013.

In addition to these Microsoft tools, Ngo said the software company will be opening up its Windows Phone 8 OS for third-party mobile device management service providers. He said companies can choose to use existing third-party MDM tools already in place to deploy and manage internal business apps on Windows Phone 8-powered devices.

However, the executive said there was no available news on who these MDM providers were and how Microsoft will work with them exactly.

The value proposition of Windows Phone 8-- launched on Tuesday--being a closely integrated component of the overall Windows architecture making device management and security much easier to develop and deploy, was one of the main points touted by Redmond.

Alvaro Celis, vice president of Microsoft Asia-Pacific, said its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 OSes are better integrated with companies' existing IT systems , which positions it and its device partners to offer inbuilt management and security tools for smartphones and tablets which enterprises are demanding.