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Microsoft and Samsung Knox Working on Office 365 Mobile Integration Deal

Microsoft and Samsung may be getting ready to announce a mobile management deal associated with Android-based devices.

The deal, ostensibly to bundle Office 365 apps for Android devices with Samsung Knox Workspace security integration, was mentioned at this month's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona by Dr. Injong Rhee, according to a report by Tim Anderson of The Register. Anderson's report cited Rhee, senior vice president of the Samsung Knox Business Group, as saying that Microsoft's OneDrive, OneNote and Office 365 apps will come preloaded with Samsung Knox Workspace security and management technology.

Samsung has published a video recording of Rhee's Mobile World Congress talk. However, the recording does not include the details described in The Register story. The story shows Rhee with a background slide that suggests a plan to integrate OneDrive, OneNote and Office 365 apps with Knox.

Microsoft was contacted today by e-mail for comment, but a company spokesperson stated that Microsoft had "nothing to share."

The two companies already have collaborated on the Knox platform by enabling "workplace join" capabilities. Workplace join is Microsoft's technology for enabling non-domain-joined devices to be managed when running Windows Server 2012 R2 workloads. Brad Anderson, Microsoft corporate vice president for Enterprise Mobility, previously noted that Microsoft has built container technologies to work with both Android and iOS platforms, including SDKs and wrappers for independent software vendors to leverage. Microsoft is also embedding the mobile device management capabilities of its own Intune cloud-based device management solution into Office 365 apps, Anderson said.

While Microsoft could be working to enable the management of Office 365 Android apps via Knox Workspace, it definitely is not working with Google on its Android for Work mobile device management partner program. Microsoft has affirmed that part, at least.

The Knox platform provides security through a combination of hardware and software. The Knox project got started in November 2011, with products launched in October 2014, according to Rhee. He described the platform as having four elements: a secure platform (Workspace) with containers and certificate management capabilities, a cloud-based mobile device management system (Knox Enterprise Mobility Management), an enterprise app store for housing SaaS applications with integrated single sign-on capabilities, and an identity and access management system.

Rhee's talk also demonstrated the data separation capabilities of the latest Knox 2.0 container technology. It keeps corporate managed apps and data separate from personals ones, for instance. End users see different screens, or "personas," when accessing corporate and personal apps. However, Knox 2.0 also features an integrated experience without such distinctions for those that want it.

Rhee claimed that it takes just 10 clicks to set up a manageable Knox mobile device. Samsung Knox has partnered with mobile device management solution providers AirWatch, Good Technology and MobileIron on the technology, he added. So far, there are 25 million Knox embedded devices in the market with more than one million activated users, he said. Samsung has more than 2,000 engineers dedicated to the Knox project.

About the Author

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

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