Microsoft readies new version of Windows Intune

There's a new version of Microsoft's Windows Intune service coming. There's documentation about an April preview now available for download.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft posted to its Download Center on April 16 a "Getting Started Guide" for the next version of Windows Intune, its cloud-based PC management service.

The "Windows Intune April 2012 Pre-Release Getting Started Guide" mentions an April "pre-release" of the Intune service. I'm thinking Microsoft will announce this some time this week at its Microsoft Management Summit 2012 conference in Las Vegas.

According to the documentation about what's new in this pre-release, Windows Intune is "now integrated with the Windows Azure Active Directory, the same directory service that is used by Microsoft Office 365." Here's more on what the Windows Azure Active Directory is from a blog post I did earlier this year. (Note: WAAD is still largely under non-disclosure, so there aren't a lot of details publicly available about it.)

"In the full release, Windows Intune will provide support for mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablet devices. This includes Windows Phone 7, Apple iPhones, iPads, and Android devices," the documentation adds, via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). Here's a chart listing the supported devices for the coming release:

There are updates to the Intune administrator console, including a new Windows Intune account portal. Admins can disable or configure a single or multiple alerts at one time from the System Overview page or the Alerts Overview page. There are other policy-related updates allow the refreshing of a policy on a computer and the Windows Intune inventory on demand.

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).

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