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Windows Intune Beta Ends April 18

The Windows Intune beta will expire on Monday, April 18, Microsoft warned today.

In a blog post, the company advised beta users to either purchase a subscription to the hosted management service for Windows-based PCs or download a free 30-day trial version. The trial software will install over the beta. Otherwise, Microsoft recommends that beta users uninstall the beta from their machines.

Microsoft began offering the Window Intune service commercially last month. It's priced at $11 per user per month, and comes with access to Windows 7 Enterprise edition, a browser-based management console and PC security software. For an additional $1 per user per month, Windows Intune users gain access to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, which includes desktop virtualization and application virtualization tools, among others.

Windows Intune is based on Microsoft's Windows Update service, and not the Windows Azure cloud-computing platform. It was initially rolled out with the idea of providing PC management support to small and medium-size businesses. However, according to an IDC white paper on Windows Intune costs, Microsoft's goal is to expand this service to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes.

Using hosted applications, such as Windows Intune, can be construed as a form of outsourcing. The IDC white paper cited above, which was sponsored by Microsoft, calculates cost reductions for organizations using the service based on the time savings afforded to IT personnel.

The white paper's conclusions are based on the experiences of eight organizations testing the beta version of Windows Intune, with the organizations having a mean of 121 employees and three IT staff.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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