Microsoft Windows Intune , the cloud-hosted, subscription-based PC management tool, has gotten its promised update. The Windows Intune update adds software distribution capabilities, remote task support, better reporting and more. But that's old news: the real highlight of Microsoft's announcement was the launch of a promotion for channel partners and cloud services providers. The special offer showed up in a Microsoft blog entry, which states:
Partners will receive 12 percent of the Windows Intune fees during the first year once the purchased licenses are deployed. However, if partners have a new Windows Client Enterprise Agreement, we have a special promotion until June 30, 2012, where partners influencing the deployment of Windows Intune Add-On licenses purchased will receive 50 percent of the year one Windows Intune fees. These partner fees will be back-dated to July 1, 2011.
And of course, partners will still receive 12 percent of the first year’s subscription fees for each new Microsoft Online subscription and an additional 6 percent of the subscription fees during the first year and onward for each subscription that remains active.
Reading between the lines, it's not that Microsoft Windows Intune isn't aimed at traditional IT departments. But it's obvious that Microsoft understands that managed service providers, especially those making the transition to cloud services, are going to be critical to Windows Intune's success. And by extension, Windows Intune's success is going to boost Microsoft Windows 7's enterprise readiness.
Otherwise, there's not much new in Microsoft's announcement: the new release of Windows Intune will be rolled out to customers starting now and completing by the end of the calendar year, while those customers still on the beta have until November 17 to upgrade or lose service.
Windows Intune remains an intriguing part of Microsoft's cloud channel play, and rest assured we'll continue to keep close watch on it.