Microsoft Management Summit: Surprises for MSPs?

Microsoft Management Summit: Surprises for MSPs?

As Microsoft Management Summit 2011 approaches (March 21-25, Las Vegas), MSPmentor is starting to hear more chatter about Windows Intune -- a SaaS platform that may allow MSPs to remotely manage Windows 7 devices. Admittedly, Windows Intune won't dominate the Microsoft conference. But the event will likely allow partners and customers to more closely evaluate Microsoft's progress with the Windows Intune beta. Here's why.

Microsoft will focus at least two conference sessions on Windows Intune. The first, hosted by Microsoft Group Product Manager Alex Heaton and Program Manager Nilesh Bhide, will show attendees how to set up Windows Intune to offer software updates, malware protection and asset inventory to networked Windows 7 PCs that can be located anywhere. The second session, hosted by Erdal Ozkaya, co-founder of CEO IT Training in Australia, will feature real-world demos showing how beta customers currently use Windows Intune.

Generally speaking, I think Microsoft will mainly promote Windows Intune to corporate IT managers when the SaaS service officially debuts sometime in late 2011. But Microsoft is quietly exploring how Windows Intune can potentially benefit managed services providers (MSPs) and VARs. Indeed, Microsoft quietly attended ConnectWise IT Nation in November 2010, meeting with selected MSP industry influencers to talk a bit about the Windows Intune beta.

Assuming Windows Intune works as advertised, I think it may catch on with some selected MSPs. But for broad channel success, I think Microsoft has to stretch Windows Intune beyond its Windows 7 management focus to incorporate non-Windows devices -- including Apple Macintoshes.

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