Microsoft Company Hub for Windows Phone 8 App Management
Microsoft is preparing Company Hub, a Windows Phone 8 app marketplace platform that enterprises can run and maintain on their own. It’s sort of like mobile application management (MAM)… or an app store containing only those apps that corporate IT has approved. It makes me wonder: Will Microsoft give partners (say, managed services providers) the ability to set up and manage Company Hubs for businesses? And will Microsoft extend Company Hub to manage Windows 8 Surface tablet apps?
Chatter about Company Hub surfaced today at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 (WPc12) in Toronto. But the software giant has been discussing Company Hub since the Windows Phone 8 Summit in June 2012. Generally speaking I love the concept. It potentially brings control to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) craze.
Of course there are big challenges — namely Apple iPhone and Google Android. Microsoft talked a big Windows Phone 8 game today at WPC12. And during keynote presentations, there were several loud roars for Microsoft’s smartphone plans. It’s as if some Microsoft partners have grown tired of Apple’s arrogance and high prices in the smartphone market.
Also, Microsoft partners welcome the idea of enterprise-controlled app marketplaces, rather than the Apple-controlled App Store.
I’m not saying Windows Phone 8 will succeed. But I am saying MSPs should examine Microsoft’s message, especially as business customers try to balance the BYOD trend with proper app deployment and management policies. We’ll be watching to see exactly how Company Hub potentially plays with service providers… and perhaps even tablet customers.