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Beta for Windows Intune Ends April 18, Microsoft Warns

The beta for Windows Intune will expire on Monday, April 18, Microsoft announced on Friday.

According to a Microsoft blog post, users of the hosted management service for Windows-based PCs have two options: Download a free 30-day trial version (the trial software will install over the beta) or purchase a subscription. Otherwise, Microsoft advises users to uninstall the beta from their machines.

Microsoft began offering the Window Intune service commercially last month. It's priced at $11 per user per month, and comes with access to Windows 7 Enterprise edition, a browser-based management console and PC security software. For an additional $1 per user per month, Windows Intune users gain access to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), which includes desktop virtualization and application virtualization tools.

Windows Intune is based on Microsoft's Windows Update service, and not the Windows Azure cloud computing platform. It was initially rolled out with the goal of providing PC management support to small and medium-size businesses. However, according to a Microsoft-sponsored IDC whitepaper on Windows Intune costs, Microsoft's goal is to expand this service to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes.

Using hosted applications such as Windows Intune can be construed as a form of outsourcing. The IDC whitepaper calculates cost reductions for organizations using the service based on the time savings afforded to IT personnel.

The whitepaper's conclusions are based on the experiences of eight organizations testing the beta version of Windows Intune, with the organizations having a mean of 121 employees and three IT staff.

About the Author

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