Microsoft to unveil Enterprise Mobility Suite alongside Office for iPad

Microsoft is readying a new Enterprise Mobility Suite bundle to help enterprise users better manage Windows, Android and iOS devices, sources say.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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