Microsoft System Center 2012 Set to Manage Apple iPads

Microsoft System Center 2012 will be able to manage Apple iPads, according to Heather Logan, a New York Metro Partner Territory Manager within Microsoft's US SMB and Distribution team. Microsoft has launched several pre-release versions of System Center 2012, signaling the company's growing focus on cross-platform mobile device management (MDM) and application management. It makes me wonder: Will Windows Intune, a cloud alternative to System Center, ultimately support iPad management as well?

Logan briefly touched on System Center 2012 during an ASCII gathering of SMB-focused VARs and IT resellers in New Jersey today. Also today, Microsoft posted two blog updates on the System Center 2012 strategy. The updates appeared on STB News Bytes Blog and the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform Blog.

According to Microsoft:

  • For private cloud, the company has released betas of the 2012 versions of System Center Service Manager and System Center App Controller, as well as a Release Candidate (RC) of System Center Orchestrator. The apps are designed to manage both applications and infrastructure.
  • For client management, Microsoft released the RC of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection, which help IT manage PCs, mobile phones and tablets.
At the ASCII event, Logan didn't mention if System Center 2012 will also support Google Android. And I haven't had a chance to take a really close look at Microsoft's stated directions yet. But it's a safe bet Microsoft has gotten the message: The modern IT world is cross-platform and pushes far beyond Windows PCs.

So what's next? MSPmentor is watching for continued synergies between System Center and Windows Intune, Microsoft's cloud-based PC management platform. Windows Intune, which recently reached its second major release, focuses entirely on Windows systems management. But Microsoft has publicly stated that Windows Intune will gradually taking on more and more System Center capabilities.

During previous conversations with Microsoft, the company has told me that Windows Intune remains Windows-centric. Still, I suspect Windows Intune will ultimately become a cross-platform cloud service, perhaps even supporting Mac OS X, Android and iOS (iPhones and iPads) along the way.
Just a hunch...
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