Deploying mobile applications using Windows Intune

A key component in this new world of mobile workers (whether they be using BYOD or company-issued devices) is the ability to manage those devices using a centralised console.

The Microsoft ActiveSync protocol goes a long way to provide cross-platform Mobile Device Management (MDM) with regards to connecting it to Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Online however this is primarily based around device security and connectivity to Exchange services. Organisations need more than this, and MDM is becoming quite a hot topic. While the technology and solution sets have not been new – the cloud is opening up the floodgates for more solution providers to flow through and offer their own value propositions.

For organisations that prefer to stay within the Microsoft product stack, keep their licensing simple, offload as many workloads to the cloud, and prefer strong integration – the current release of Windows Intune provides quite a robust feature set of MDM. Granted it is not the same level of functionality as a dedicated MDM solution however for many organisations it will offer far more than what they currently have.

An amazing component of Windows Intune is the fact that it can deploy applications to iOS and Android devices. (Opinion: perhaps Microsoft should have stuck with the “System Center Online” name so as to keep the product marketability more cross-platform).

A recent post on the Windows Intune team blog describes how to load applications onto iOS and Android devices using Windows Intune, bypassing the requirement to publish the app via the Apple app store or implement a 3rd party enterprise deployment technology.

Why Android doesn’t work with Exchange Online

Lately I’ve noticed lots of angry comments from Android users pointing the finger at Microsoft for why their mail stops working with Exchange Online.
I tried to help out one of these pour souls but his sheer rage blinded him from seeing the actual problem.

It’s important in issues like these to be practical and look at it objectively.
The post in question on the Office 365 Community was from a user who was demanding that Microsoft explain why his Android native mail client wouldn’t work anymore and that they stop saying they support Android when in fact they don’t. That particular individual as well as several others on the forums continued to point the finger at Microsoft for failing to support their handsets.

In my latest article on BoxFreeIT I go through this issue and uncover the fact that the fault lies with Google’s Android platform and their failure to adhere to the protocols of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS).

Here’s a link to explain how ActiveSync works in Office 365 and how it can cause some devices to stop connecting to Exchange Online: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/02/07/cross-site-redirection-exchange-activesync-clients-in-office-365.aspx

A post by Exchange Customer Experience Team explaining how this began: http://community.office365.com/en-us/f/160/p/18164/104303.aspx#104303

And finally – the issue acknowledge on the Android bug tracking site: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=25527