Today, at the Build 2014 conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced new features and improvements for businesses in Windows 8.1 Update and announced a new release of the Windows Phone OS, with Windows Phone 8.1.
18 months ago, with the launch of Windows 8, we took our first step towards a unified Windows and Windows Phone experience for customers, partners and developers by creating a consistent UI across desktop, notebook, tablet and phone. Today’s updates take another major step forward by unifying the developer platform and Windows Store and Windows Phone Store experiences to synchronize app experiences across devices. This convergence enables enterprise developers to easily reuse code and business logic in apps that run on everything from the smallest Windows smartphone devices up to the largest PPI displays, and everything in between. It also makes it simpler for ISVs to create apps that run across the entire Windows device ecosystem. Let’s review more of the detailed updates we’ve made for you, the enterprise customer.
Windows 8.1 Update
Windows 8 made touch a first-class citizen, introduced the Windows Store, and launched a variety of new device form-factors. This new, modern Windows delivered significant benefits to our worldwide enterprise customers, including Resona Holdings Inc. and United Utilities. Both customers chose to migrate directly from Windows XP to Windows 8.
One of the top five banking groups in Japan, Resona Holdings Inc. recently completed a 30,000 seat migration to Windows 8 Enterprise to increase overall efficiency and productivity across the company. Windows 8 Enterprise functionality resulted in significant operational cost savings, while BitLocker drive encryption technology created a stronger security environment, allowing the institution to more easily maintain compliance.
Windows 8.1 advanced our initial vision, responding to customer feedback, improving the UI, and further refining the platform. Based on these improvements, United Utilities, the UK’s largest listed water company, has confirmed their commitment to migrate over 2,000 employees to Windows 8.1 Update by December 2014. With a business so diverse, ranging from field engineers working on remote sites, through to customer contact centers, to office-based business leaders, the release of Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Phone 8.1 ensures United Utilities can easily support existing applications and gives them the flexibility to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time, from their desktop to tablet to phone and back, with a familiar look and feel across devices.
“Windows XP has served us well, and we have worked hard to select the right OS to replace it,” said William Hewish IT Director United Utilities. “One of our key objectives was not to just refresh our current estate but also enable our business to innovate and transform. The new release of Microsoft Windows 8.1 ticks all the boxes, it’s easy to manage and we believe will provide a great platform for the future.”
Windows 8.1 Update, available today on MSDN and TechNet, via Windows Update (WU) beginning on April 8th and for Volume Licensing customers later this month, delivers important capabilities designed for the enterprise:
Businesses need increased flexibility to deliver Windows experiences to their users. To support that need, and provide more business value, we are adjusting some of our licensing models:
Windows is also providing developers with new tools to leverage existing code to easily create and deploy touch-friendly business apps, and improve efficiency across devices, including:
Windows 8.1 Update will be delivered through Windows Update. Additionally, enterprise management tools such as Windows Server Update Services, System Center Configuration Manager, and Windows Intune, can update existing Windows 8.1 devices. Finally, updated Windows 8.1 Update images will be available later this month to make it easier for enterprises to deploy across all devices. Windows 8.1 Update represents a new baseline for future Windows 8.1 servicing going forward – Windows 8.1 customers will need to install Windows 8.1 Update to receive future updates. For more information on deployment, see the Springboard blog.
Windows Phone 8.1
Modern enterprise mobility requires efficiency and productivity across all devices, including smartphones. Windows Phone 8.1 brings the security and manageability you expect from Windows to the smartphone with a set of new, unique features designed with business customers in mind.
Windows Phone 8.1 delivers important enterprise-grade capabilities, including:
As a result of these improvements, BT, a multinational telecommunications company and Windows 8.1 tablet customer, has already announced its commitment to expand its mobile ecosystem to include 5,000 Windows Phone 8.1 devices in 2014.
Making the move to Windows Phone 8.1 sets BT on a path to standardize on the Windows platform for mobility. With the convergence of the Windows OS and Windows Phone OS, BT realizes its vision to build and run apps that cross device form factors to increase employee productivity and improve IT efficiency in the development and management of corporate applications and devices.
Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Phone 8.1 were designed with you, our enterprise customer, in mind. They deliver the features, security and management you need to run a truly modern, mobile business. These updates enable an even wider variety of hardware options, letting you choose the devices that make the most sense for your organization, while ensuring a consistent OS experience, whether you are working on a phone, a tablet or a PC. And with the convergence of our app platform, your app experience is just as seamless, whether you are running a 4-inch phone or an 82-inch PPI display. The feedback you provided allowed us to make these key refinements to make the Windows platform better, thank you. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it in your business.
Nice Info www.usaindependenceday2014.com
Will avaliable The Update for Windows 8.0 for Nokia 520 with Lumia Amber in Brasil ?
The 800lb gorilla in the room that keeps getting ignored is Cisco Anyconnect. Microsoft needs to apply a full court press to bring their VPN solution into the fold if they ever hope to up Windows Phone enterprise adoption. The build it and they will come VPN framework solution simply doesn't work. Neato that you got Juniper and Checkpoint on board but they are a small piece of the VPN pie compared to Cisco.
I completely agree with SleepyDaddySoft. Our company is a small business and we were considering making an internal only dashboard app to interact with data from our web site. We wanted to try out the universal app design and make it for our Windows 8.1 devices and Windows Phone devices. However we can't do so since it's not something we want to publish to the Store (due to it being for internal use only) and we aren't going to buy Enterprise licenses (with additional features we don't need) or pay additional fees just to load an app on a device when the web and other platforms like WPF are free to do so.
This is a situation where we would love to convert to even more use of Microsoft stack but are forced to remain with web due to the silly sideloading requirements. If Microsoft removes these requirements and allows sideloading on all devices without additional fees, your developer audience will grow significantly.
A big takeaway from Build 2014 is that Microsoft is becoming a much more open and embracing company. I (and others I've talked to who have moved away from Microsoft in recent years) think the announcements from Build were fantastic and are setting the right course for the future. Please continue that trend by improving and opening up sideloading to all.
I'm unclear on the VPN section. Will I be able to set up a VPN connection without using the enterprise MDM tools?
I have gone through your blog and finds this very interesting to note the new capabilities and added features incorporated in windows 8.1
Still no support for password protected Office files ?
I'm not sure how many times people have to say this, but whomever at Microsoft thought requiring a side-loading license for WinRT app distribution was a good idea is fooling themselves. WinRT will NEVER be a viable platform for LOB apps until you get rid of the side-loading license. Why would anyone spend resources to make a WinRT LOB app that can only be deployed to customers with a an enterprise licence, or for whom you purchase a side-loading license, when we can just as easily create a web app or a desktop windows app, or an android app, or a Mac OS X desktop app, for free, without your permission?
It's simple. Stop being stupid and get rid of the side-loading license requirement for everyone, on every version of windows and on every device. Then watch as developers of all types, from LOB business app developers to open source scientific/medical app developers, to DIY Kinect/Rift/WearableComputing/NextBigThing geeks do Amazing Things™ on Windows, and then see the windows store and the platform in general benefit from the network effects of all that active development.
Side loading costs and restrictions are still confusing. We want to develop Windows 8.1 apps for retail and business, some may use Kinect for Windows 2.0, with the app only installed on below 10 devices per client, and the client will not have an existing enterprise agreement with Microsoft. If we use Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 RT, what has to be purchased to side load a Windows Store type app on these limited devices, with Assigned Access also enabled?