Windows Intune Beta 2: What's New?

Microsoft expanded the beta for cloud-based PC management platform, Windows Intune, to more users in more countries. Here's the lowdown on pricing and new features.

Mon, July 12, 2010

CIO — As part of its Worldwide Partner Conference keynote today, Microsoft announced that the second public beta for its cloud-based PC management and security platform, Windows Intune, is now available.

The first Windows Intune beta, announced in April, was limited to 1,000 users in the US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico and filled up in 24 hours. With beta number two, Microsoft has expanded testing to 10,000 customers and partners in the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, UK and Italy.

Windows Intune, in a nutshell, is a Web-based console where IT administrators can manage the deployment of Microsoft updates and service packs to all PCs, keep track of hardware and software inventory, fix PC issues remotely, manage protection from malware threats and set security policies. Windows Intune can be accessed anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Microsoft is aiming the cloud-based Windows Intune squarely at companies with 25 to 500 PCs, as businesses of this size typically don't have the resources to manage and configure servers in an on-premise desktop management environment.

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A demo of the Windows Intune Multi-Account Console.

In addition to expanding the beta to more users in more countries, Microsoft also unveiled new Windows Intune pricing and licensing information and a new feature called Multi-Account Console, designed to help Microsoft partners and customers manage multiple accounts through a single Web-based console.

Here's a rundown of what's new in the new Windows Intune beta.

Pricing and Licensing

The biggest piece of news about Windows Intune is the price: For $11 per PC per month users will get the Windows Intune service plus integrated anti-malware (anti-virus and anti-spyware) and Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights. Volume discounts will also be available for purchases of 250 licenses or greater.

Windows Intune will be sold like other cloud services from Microsoft — through Microsoft partners and the Microsoft Online Services Web site.

If Windows Intune users are planning on a hybrid of cloud and on-premise PC management, they have the option, for an additional dollar per PC per month, to subscribe to Microsoft's MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) suite, a collection of on-premise PC management tools that can accomplish tasks that the Windows Intune cloud service cannot, such as diagnosing and recovering unbootable PCs.

Customers with existing Microsoft SA (Software Assurance) coverage will receive a discount for Windows Intune that will equal approximately the price of their SA coverage.

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about Windows Intune.

New Feature: Multi-Account Console

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