Some big announcements earlier today on the Microsoft Server And Cloud Blog, pasted below. One of the anticipated changes that was expected with Windows Intune moving into the Server & Tools business alongside System Center – the unbundling of Windows Enterprise Upgrades from Intune subscriptions will open up Windows Intune to a new base of customers, and the integration with System Center helps to position Windows Intune firmly as Microsoft’s solution for mobile device management, including Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT devices.

Obviously there is much more to be announced, but it’s great to see the Intune team discussing new capabilities prior to them being rolled out in beta or production.

Let the cut and pasting begin…

Interoperability of Windows Intune and System Center Configuration Manager Console

The proliferation of mobile devices presents unique challenges for organizations of all sizes.  These devices run various operating systems.  With the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), they’re likely to be owned and controlled by the individual and cannot be “managed” like a typical corporate-controlled PC.  They’re also typically not on the corporate network but instead utilize the Internet for connectivity, even to access corporate data.  These challenges require flexibility in the way corporate policies are defined, such as determining which policies can and should be applied to which devices, and how those devices should be managed.

Microsoft offers two separate endpoint management solutions – System Center 2012 Configuration Manager for on-premises management, and Windows Intune for management through the cloud.

With System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 and the next version of Windows Intune, Microsoft is taking the first step in delivering interoperability between these products through Configuration Manager’s administration console.

This will enable customers to add mobile devices managed through the cloud with Windows Intune into their System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1 console and manage all the devices through one tool.

While you can continue to use Windows Intune as your “fully in the cloud” management solution for PC and mobile device managment, the interoperability of our on-premises and cloud services is a big step forward for organizations that want to manage all of their devices from one place.

Management of Windows RT devices and Windows Phone 8

If you already have System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, SP1 and the next version of Windows Intune will enable you to extend the reach of your management infrastructure to include mobile devices via the cloud.

Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT devices will be managed by the next release of Windows Intune.

IT Pros will have the flexibility of using either the Windows Intune or Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 console to set mobile security policies, distribute mobile apps and view reports.  We’ll share more details as we get closer to the next release of Windows Intune.

Windows Intune Licensing Changes

To help organizations benefit from our Windows Intune and Configuration Manager SP1 solution for BYOD and other device management scenarios, we are changing our licensing for Windows Intune in the next release:

  • We are shifting from a per-device to a per-user licensing model.  Each user license for Windows Intune covers up to 5 managed devices.
  • There will be a Windows Intune user license that includes the rights to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, enabling organizations to manage those devices through either Windows Intune or Configuration Manager, or both.
  • Organizations that already own System Center 2012 Configuration Manager licenses, such as through the Core CAL, will have access to Windows Intune at a reduced price.
  • Today, all managed PCs covered by a Windows Intune license may be upgraded to Windows Enterprise as long as the qualifying OS is one of the following editions of Windows: Business, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise.  This will continue to be available, but we will also make a version of Windows Intune available without rights to Windows Enterprise, thereby lowering the cost for organizations that are not ready to move to the latest operating system.

Further details on pricing will be provide at a later date.