Can Microsoft System Center Revenues Lift Windows Intune?

Perhaps MSPmentor is underestimating the future prospects of Windows Intune. Why am I starting to open my mind to Windows Intune's future? The simple answer involves Microsoft System Center, which has generated double-digit revenue growth for 10 consecutive quarters, according to Microsoft GM of Investor Relations Bill Koefoed. Here are the details -- and potential synergies with Windows Intune.

Microsoft System Center and Windows Intune are close cousins. Generally speaking, corporate IT managers and channel partners use System Center on-premise to manage and maintain Windows environments. Windows Intune, in contrast, is a cloud-based management tool that some MSPs and corporate IT managers are testing for ongoing Windows system maintenance. The second major Windows Intune release is in beta now. Microsoft has stated that over time, Windows Intune will achieve feature parity with System Center.

Booming System Center Sales

My thesis: System Center's growing success could stir demand for Windows Intune. And yes: System Center is succeeding.

During a July 21 financial analyst call recapping Microsoft's fiscal Q4 earnings, Koefoed and CFO Peter Klein described revenues for a range of Microsoft products. Most folks are focusing on a 1 percent drop in Windows sales. But sales of Microsoft's higher-end business applications continue to grow swiftly. And System Center also is gaining momentum.

According to an earnings call transcript from Seeking Alpha, Koefoed said:
"Our premium Windows Server and System Center revenues were both up over 20%. Customers are using Microsoft technology to virtualize their data center and build out private cloud environments. System Center revenue has also grown double digits 10 consecutive quarters...
...Last week, we previewed Windows Server 8 and the next version of System Center. These products will further enhance customer's private cloud deployments while bridging their investments to the public cloud. We'll also share more details on these at BUILD in September."
BUILD is a Windows-centric conference scheduled for Sept. 13-16 in Anaheim, Calif. We'll look for for more System Center updates there.

Still, I'm not suggesting that Windows Intune will become an overnight hit. I've heard from plenty of MSPs who have no plans to embrace Windows Intune. The reason: Windows Intune can only manage Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 devices. In stark contrast, most MSPs I hear from are trying to manage increasingly heterogeneous environments with Windows, Mac OS, Apple iOS, Google Android, Linux and other platforms.

But I've learned not to underestimate Microsoft. And System Center's momentum caught me by surprise.
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