Making Windows Phone an even better choice for business

Making Windows Phone an even better choice for business

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[This post was written by Tony Mestres, vice president of Windows Phone partner and channel marketing.]

Microsoft is investing in Windows Phone enterprise capabilities to make it an even better choice for businesses of all sizes.

We’ve decided to increase the length of our support lifecycle from 18 months to 36 months. Beginning with Windows Phone 8 we’ll make updates, including security updates, available for 36 months. These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it.  The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities. 

In addition to the longer support lifecycle, we will also be releasing an enterprise feature pack as an update to Windows Phone 8. This feature pack will provide IT departments with more control over Windows Phones and give their employees a fuller productivity experience.

The enterprise feature pack will include:

  • S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
  • Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware, auto-triggered VPN
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS
  • Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying installation of certain apps
  • Certificate management to enroll, update, and revoke certificates for user authentication

We plan to provide the feature pack as an update in the first half of 2014. By lengthening the Windows Phone support lifecycle policy and announcing of the enterprise feature pack, we show Microsoft’s commitment to the Windows Phone platform. This gives business customers the confidence to invest in Windows Phone today, with the knowledge that their investments are secure, and the platform is evolving to be an even better choice for business.  

31 Comments
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  • marbla
    0 Posts

    So is this possibly happening on new devices in H1/2014 and old ones probably somewhere between 2015 and never? Incidentally what is the sense of super long support if you never release meaningful updates?

    sorry

  • Too little, too late.

    Where is a calendar that is usable, searchable? Which shows more than one month old appointments?

    When will I be able to forward a mail with an attachment, and just delete the original message?

    When will the WP Team and the team who designs outlook sit together and exchange about what business people require?

    I'm just speechless about how slow things proceed. These problems exist since the first days of WP....3 years ago (almost).

  • Mantvydas
    15 Posts

    What about a Remote Desktop App to RDP to company's servers? That's a must I've been waiting for I don't know how much time.

  • tsgx108
    0 Posts

    That's perfect,but i wonder when an MDM server can wake up device through push notifications such as ios and android,not by task schedule current.

  • BFD. If you want to make Windows Phone a better choice for business, you can start by giving small firms a way to centrally control phones and the downloading of apps from the Windows Store without having to create and manage individual Microsoft accounts for each user. What a mess.

    Moreover, after purchasing more than a dozen Lumia 822’s, I found out Windows Phone 8 will not play the g.711-encoded voice mail WAV files generated by our phone system (and based on my research many other corporate phone systems as well). This is spite of the fact that Windows Phone 7.5 and 7 played these files without any problem.

    Seriously-- before worrying about esoteric stuff such as support for S/MIME and EAP-TLS, maybe you should focus on the basics.

  • But this update comes in 2014 !!!

    Things like Enterprise Wi-Fi support are too basic to be even called features. What use is a smart phone that cannot connect to office Wifi nor has DataSense kind of app to properly use 3G. ..huh..

  • Will S/MIME work with plain IMAP email accounts, or only for EAS accounts?

    Will the VPN client support support standard certificate-based IKEv2 with MOBIKE?

    Will IE support SSL client authentication using certificates from the common store?

    I'd love to be able to use Windows Phones in our business; all of these things are necessary for us.

  • WP8 and Lumia are totally unusable without true Outlook calendar&contacts (and tasks&notes) sync - offline over USB (and Bluetooth) - without outlook.com, Exchange, etc.

    Microsoft should provide a proper desktop sync tool - having all capabilities of Nokia PC/Ovi suite. Or allow Nokia to do this by a HERE sync app in the phone and PC/Ovi suite in the PC.

    Next, voice&SMS capabilities should be enabled in Windows 8.1 for tablets along with full cross-compatibility between WinRT and WinPRT. x86 Windows 8.1 should be "allowed" to work on any device regardless of screen size (if the resolution covers the requirements).

  • Jartziz
    0 Posts

    The calendar must be one of the most used apps in business phones. The built-in one should be fixed to meet the current standards. Usable views, week numbers etc. are now missing. The calendar now in WP phones feels like done in a hurry without proper field testing.

  • Are you posting this notice to encourage companies to purchase now, in hopes that you really deliver?  Past history with Windows Phone has proven that this may not work out as you plan.

    I don't think I'll be convincing my boss just yet... the Windows Phone team has announced other programs that never got delivered. Anyone remember the Windows Phone program that lets enthusiasts get early access to updates?

    (www.wpcentral.com/details-emerge-about-future-windows-phone-update-program-enthusiast-users)

    And BTW, I thought the Windows Phone team was in a "shut up and ship" mode (www.pcmag.com/.../0,2817,2416002,00.asp). I guess the shut up isn't happening anymore and apparently the ship isn't happening for a while either.

    I love my Windows Phone, but I can't recommend it to other techies. I get flack every couple of weeks from my friend who still has another year to go on his Nokia 900 contract before he can get a Windows Phone 8.

  • rhu92
    0 Posts

    EAP-TLS and EAP-TTLS are part of the safest protocols over wifi. I suppose you know eduroam is just the network's name, the protocol used to connect to this network is up to the universities and organizations.

    You say it is possible for you to connect to eduroam, this means Johannes Kepler Universität's eduroam use another protocol for it. There is where the problem comes from, most of us can only connect through a PAP/EAP-TTLS protocol.

    I don't know if the links will appear, but there are some threads at WP uservoice where you can see people needs this:

    windowsphone.uservoice.com/.../2281269

    windowsphone.uservoice.com/.../2310837

    Needless to say both android and iOS support this protocols without enterprise feature packs.

  • abm
    268 Posts

    Wait a sec! Does this mean we will finally get this error fixed without pulling strings in IT department:

    answers.microsoft.com/.../cf059499-3ce3-49e4-8069-ecdccd55a5f9

  • I still don't understand why so many problem seem to have a problem with the Eduroam network. It works just fine for me at JKU Linz and has so since my first WP7 device. Perhaps other universities implement the authentication differently but given that Eduroam IS compatible worldwide I don't see how it could work differently?

  • soder
    0 Posts

    "Increase supportability up to 36 months"

    Does that mean, there will be only 1 or 2 software updates released from MS during that 3-year period? I am guessing this generously long timeframe will be possible only because there will be just few updates and improvements to this obsolete product released, MS can afford to support those 1-2 versions for such long time?

  • One of the very crucial application of business users which is still missing on Windows phone is Advance Call manager. One wonders how come it is still not there for windows phone. A true business phone has to have the availability of managing calls in our absence and presence both. An appropriate software application could go a long way in promoting sales of windows phone as compared to that of android based phones.

  • MichelR
    0 Posts

    Does this imply enhancements to the EAS protocol or is it OS/app driven only?

  • Nokia Will adopt Android on Q4? : http://tny.cz/d8dec179

  • I think this update release will revolutionize windows phone but i have some updates that are must for windows phone like eye seen in internet explorer 10 as on W8 it will help us better after typing a password anti-pishing if I'm not wrong

  • "The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities."

    Translation: there are no updates.

  • rhu92
    0 Posts

    About the enterprise feature 'Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS'

    Does it mean it would not be possible to connect to a WPA EAP-TLS network without this pack?

    I suppose you at Microsoft know there is an educational network called 'eduroam' which uses this protocol worldwide. I would like to know if this would be possible to connect to this kind of networks for us the students without needing to buy this enterprise pack.

    I would really appreciate an answer, thank you.

  • spc1972
    3 Posts

    So does the provision of the VPN access finally make up the removal of the UAG configuration settings in the Office hub that was present in WP7.5 but removed in WP8? I could never understand that decision (as it worked quite nicely) and has hampered our adoption of WP8. Will it mean that internal SharePoint links in email messages will now work without having to change the URLs of SharePoint servers? For me, far too many aspects of WP8 are based on the apparent assumption that all users are on Office 365.

  • Hooray! Although at that point my two year wait for S/MIME and cert support may already have me on a new platform.

  • bilhao
    0 Posts

    If updates were appart from carriers, it would be just perfect!

  • So when can I get a "Nexus" like Windows Phone that is not dependent on carriers.  I would be happy to purchase something directly from MS or Nokia or HTC if it was guaranteed to get all of the updates.

  • amnesia
    0 Posts

    Take the carriers out of the equation. This BS simply has to stop. Now. If Apple can do it, so can Microsoft.

  • Going by tweets from Tom Warren (from TheVerge) this "Enterprise Feature Pack" will be part of an upcoming WP update. Given the timeframe anounced here most likely this means Blue/WP8.1

    At the moment Microsoft seems not to want to talk about the update itself but rather about certain improvements that corporate users can expect for their use cases.

  • AT&T has gotten better but ... We are talking about features that needed to be in this OS not still "to be released". I love WindowsPhone, have been using this OS since it's USA release... WinPhone is #3 and I know for a fact, no VPN has kept several of my colleagues from moving to WindowsPhone. Why is this an enterprise pack and not just a released feature of the phone?

  • Typhoon87
    27 Posts

    Agreeing to push out updates does little good if AT&T and Verizon choose not to push the updates to our devices. As Sven below my HTC Surround is still officially stuck at 7.5 even though the Canadian Carriers have pushed out the update for the surround AT&T has and most likely will not.

    Please figure out or offer a way to get the updates sans carrier interference.

  • dalydose
    11 Posts

    Tis a pity that the carriers continue to be the logjam of progress.  I honestly think that Microsoft + Apple + Google + RIM should all just pool their money together and invest in starting a new carrier.  This new carrier would allow all of the features (Data Sense, Group Texting, VOIP, etc) and support updates in a timely manner and generally focus on providing quality wireless access.

  • This is all excellent news, and I can't wait for this to be available... but how will this feature pack be released? Will we continue to be at the mercy of carriers and OEMs to publish this in a timely manner, or will it be available as a store app or customer-installable or enterprise-pushable update?

    I vividly remember Joe Belfiore saying at 2012 Build and again at the WP8 launch event how we would be able to participate in an Early Adopter style program, and that has yet to materialize for customers. I would hate to see another situation where we're stuck waiting on OEMs and carriers.

  • Sven
    54 Posts

    "The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities."

    That makes getting the updates into the actual devices a crap shoot. Somehow this must change. Love my Windows Phones. Yes plural, but one will be perpetually stuck at WP7.5 because of AT&T, one is at 7.8 in spite of T-Mobile, and I won't believe 'Blue' will hit my three WP8 devices until they are rebooting with the update.