Microsoft gets Intune with managed services

Washington, D.C. – With the release of its second public beta of Windows IntuneMicrosoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is making a case for basic PC services for the price of two large Starbucks beverages.

With Intune for $11 per PC, per month, channel partners can offer customers managed PC services from five up to 25 seats per environment with security cloud components and Windows 7 Enterprise updates. New to Intune is Multi-Account Console, and for another dollar per seat, per month partners can offer Intune in an on-premise scenario.

While Intune will be available in the first quarter of 2011, there are 10,000 partners currently developing solutions with Intune. Aaron Nettles, president and CEO of Vorsite, a Seattle-based solution provider, is one of those 10,000 beta partners.

Vorsite has made a major bet with the cloud. About 18 months into its cloud transition, Nettles said Intune is a “solid” entry cloud service and even at $11 per seat, per month the business model works. “I saw that the cloud had legs for the future, but where do you generate revenue? It’s in customization, migration and services. I saw Intune as a natural progression for the long term. Now, larger companies are looking at it to manage their PCs and push updates,” he said.

Rich Reynolds, GM of Windows commercial marketing for Microsoft, said channel partners will get a cut of that $11 but the margin potential is in updating customers and getting to know all of your customer’s PC history and health on one single screen.

“This enables partners to manage the customer requirement for basic customers and eventually move up to dynamic users,” he said.

Reynolds added that initially Intune will be targeted at mid-market customers, and he believes it will scale-up to the enterprise and Microsoft will put Intune on a frequent release cycle.

“The price is right for customers and they get key benefits with Windows 7 Enterprise like Bit Locker encryption and being able to access networks without a VPN,” Reynolds added.

For example, Intune with one click can show a partner the PC health status. If two PCs have malware the partner can remotely clear, find out how serious the intrusion was and how it can be prevented in the future. Those two PC can be tested in real time and updates can be delivered over the cloud. It can also move files or data from local hard drive to a Sharepoint site for better access with other users in the customer environment.

Reynolds added that customers want to pay monthly and partners now have a better opportunity to recommend specific upgrade projects.

Follow Paolo Del Nibletto on Twitter: @PaoloCDN.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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