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Microsoft to support Windows 8 ARM tablet enterprise management for 'bring your own' PC scenarios

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Microsoft is planning to supply a management client on Windows 8 ARM devices, allowing IT organizations to manage Metro style apps for tablets owned by employees.

Windows 8 ARM management client
Windows 8 ARM management client

The "consumerization of IT" is a key term used by organizations to describe the influx of consumer tech in business. Employees are increasingly purchasing smartphone devices and expecting big enterprise IT support departments to allow them to access company email systems, intranet resources, and line of business applications. This presents a number of challenges for IT, especially when employees want to use their own personal equipment at work.

Microsoft recognizes this increasingly common trend and plans to include a management client on Windows 8 ARM tablets to potentially position them as "bring your own" devices for employees. Although some organizations have started to licence and use GOOD technology to manage iOS and Android email usage, Microsoft is detailing a way to offer Metro style apps to Windows 8 ARM tablets. A Metro style self-service portal app (SSP) will be available in Windows RT (Windows 8 ARM), allowing employees to download and install Metro style apps or gain access to internal company websites. Traditional x86 / 64 systems can still be managed with products like System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune, but the new SSP for ARM devices will allow IT admins to offer Metro style apps not published in the Windows Store. As desktop apps are not supported on ARM Windows 8 systems, these will not be available to end users.

Windows 8 ARM tablets will not be able to join a corporate domain and be managed directly in Active Directoy, but the new SSP lets IT admins offer business apps based on Active Directory user group memberships. Maintenance sessions will provide reports and update Metro style apps, with a disconnect option available to deactivate corporate Metro style apps when an employee leaves an organization. Although the management will require some investment from IT (building Metro style apps), Microsoft is clearly positioning this as an enterprise friendly alternative to the iPad for businesses that already use Windows systems on the desktop and back-end.