Windows Intune, Microsoft's cloud-based PC management and security tool, is designed to remotely maintain Windows PCs and notebooks. But I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will gradually extend Windows Intune to support mobile device management (MDM) across Windows 8 tablets -- and yes, perhaps even Apple iPad (iOS) and Google Android devices.
Publicly, Microsoft has always stated that Windows Intune is a Windows-centric management platform. But privately, I know Microsoft has contemplated extending Windows Intune to support non-Windows devices.
Microsoft Management SummitWe could get more clues during next week's Microsoft Management Conference 2012 (April 16-20, Las Vegas). At that event, Microsoft Corporate VP Brad Anderson is expected to give two keynotes. One of them will focus on "a world of connected devices." The session description is as follows:
"Clouds and cloud-connected devices are changing the world of work and our daily interactions. Tech-savvy and always-connected, people want faster, more intuitive technology, uninterrupted services, and the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, on a variety of devices. Join Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of the Management and Security Division at Microsoft to learn how System Center 2012 and Windows Intune can help IT embrace this new reality today, and in the future, by making the right intelligent infrastructure investments."That keynote will arrive one week after Gartner's latest tablet sales forecast, which covers 2012 through 2016. Gartners' prediction for 2016: Apple's iPad will continue to lead the market, Google Android will close the sales gap and gain ground on Apple, and Windows 8 tablets will be a distant number three in the tablet market.
That's not exactly a "scientific" prediction. The entire tablet market share mix could change based on an awesome product from one company, and a bad release from another company.
But either way MSPs should be reaching the following conclusion: The mobile world, similar to the corporate IT world, increasingly involves a mix of platforms -- and many of those platforms are not Windows. As a result, mobile device management (MDM) platforms -- whether standalone or tied into a broader IT management system -- need to go cross platform.
Windows Intune will continue to appeal to a segment of the IT market (Windows-centric shops). But such a narrow focus also limits Windows Intune's appeal amid the mobile revolution.
At the Microsoft Management Summit, it's safe to say Anderson will offer clues about where Windows Intune will head next. I wonder if he'll broaden the message beyond Windows 8...