Microsoft To End Its Managed Desktop Service Next Year

Microsoft wil be ending its ambitious endpoint management service in 2024.

Microsoft is planning to end the Microsoft Managed Desktop service on July 31, 2024, according to a note in this Microsoft Learn document landing page.

Organizations overseeing a Microsoft Managed Desktop service account were informed late last month through a Message Center post MC662244 about the service's end. Message Center posts typically just get seen by persons with account administrative roles. Microsoft apparently hasn't issued any public announcement besides its obscure note.

"We're committed to working closely with each customer to provide support and guidance to make the transition as smooth as possible," the note stated.

Per the Message Center post, organizations that used the Microsoft Managed Desktop service will retain the configurations used for their computing environments, but Microsoft's engineers won't be available to address service requests. Moreover, monitoring and responses by the Microsoft Managed Desktop Security Operations Center are ending, and organizations likely will need to find an alternative security solution.

Freeing Up IT
The upshot of Microsoft's muted announcement is that the company is now ending its very ambitious service, initiated five years ago.

The Microsoft Managed Desktop service offered the promise that Microsoft would take over traditional IT departmental tasks, freeing up IT pros to do other things. Organizations just needed to have the requisite licensing, namely Microsoft 365 E5 or E3 licensing, and they needed to use approved hardware (Microsoft Surface and some OEM devices) to use the service, according to an e-book downloaded from Microsoft's product landing page.

The decision to end the Microsoft Managed Desktop service possibly was a sudden one. Microsoft's e-book mentioned the shift toward remote work as a good reason to use the service. It had suggested that the Microsoft Managed Desktop service "will be available on Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop in the future," which now seems unlikely.

Organizations wanting to free up IT departments, or perhaps hire fewer IT personnel, could get assurance using the Microsoft Managed Desktop service. Here's how the e-book put it:

When IT operations can trust Microsoft experts to provision devices and monitor security and performance, they get back the bandwidth to innovate.

Now, with Microsoft planning to end the Microsoft Managed Desktop service next year, organizations that had "freed" their IT personnel by using this service will likely have to scramble to get that in-house IT expertise back again.

Microsoft Managed Desktop Plans
Microsoft had said very little about the Microsoft Managed Desktop service over the years following its 2018 debut.

Microsoft did have partner support handling some aspects the service, which was described back in 2019. In 2021, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1, where Microsoft engineers would take control over routine Windows 10 and Window 11 management tasks. The Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 2 was presented as Microsoft's complete outsourcing plan. These two plans were not well described and possibly were just available from salespersons. Their pricing isn't shown at the Microsoft Managed Desktop product landing page.

The likely selling point for organizations wanting to use the Microsoft Managed Desktop service had been access to Microsoft's experts for routine endpoint maintenance, plus Security Operations Center oversight by Microsoft. No alternative to the service was suggested, although Microsoft promised to help its transitioning customers.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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