16 Jul Microsoft Beefs Up Windows Phone Enterprise Appeal With Longer Support
In an effort to penetrate the Business market, Microsoft have announced that not only will they be increasing the support lifespan of Windows Phone 8 from 18 to 26 months, but they will also be releasing an enterprise-oriented “feature pack” for the mobile operating system in the first half of 2014.
With both Samsung and Apple beefing up the appeal of their devices to the Enterprises with new business oriented features, it makes sense for the maker of the world’s most popular OS and Office Suite to ramp up its bid for the Business user.
In a blog post, Tony Mestres, the executive who leads partner and channel marketing for the mobile OS, outlined the extended support lifespan and feature pack. The extended support will see updates, including security updates, available for 36 months, with each update building upon the update that preceded it. What this means for businesses, is that IT can rest assured the devices it buys today will be supported three years from now:
With devices being replaced with newer, better versions and OS updates occurring as frequently as the change of seasons (with older devices either excluded or only given limited features), this will make maintaining a mobile device fleet a little easier.
To add to this, the new feature pack aims to further improve the business capabilities of the Lumia range, by offering the following features:
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- S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
- Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware, auto-triggered VPN
- Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS
- Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying installation of certain apps
- Certificate management to enroll, update, and revoke certificates for user authentication
Microsoft have yet to confirm how they plan to push out the updates when they become available in the first half of 2014. Commentators are questioning whether it will be via a Windows Store app or customer-installable/enterprise-pushable app, or whether it will have to go through the carriers. As Microsoft does not control the smartphone update and upgrade processes when it is done via carriers, the result will have a significant impact on the viability of Windows Phone in an enterprise environment.
While these features will certainly make the Windows Phone platform more appealing to business customers, whether it will be enough to really compete with Apple’s iPhone or the Android platform remains to be seen.
Do you think these updates will increase uptake of Windows Phone in the enterprise?