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Mailbag: The Trouble with Windows Intune

David in Ireland was motivated by a recent RCPU link to an April blog entry I wrote about partner branding in Windows Intune to e-mail about his trials in selling Microsoft's cloud-based systems management solution.

Here's what David had to say:

Regarding your article about branding of Intune I thought I'd share some of my experiences.

  1. Pricing. At €11 per client per month, any prospective customers we demo'ed it to thought it was pricey. It works out over €2 cheaper per client if calculated at the worst ever Euro-British Sterling exchange rate. €1 = £0.80p. That's an extreme example, and similar too if compared to the U.S. dollar. Also, if you benchmark its price against WSUS and a third-party antivirus suite like Symantec Endpoint protection, it ain't competitive. The free Windows 7 upgrade has a hidden cost of upgrade labour. After all, Windows 7 is just a nice eye candy o/s platform, and a customer will already have a secure firewall and antivirus in place to bulletproof their LAN.

  2. Have spent the guts of a day on the phone to various Microsoft departments to try resolve a customer who switched from credit card billing to direct invoicing. However, once you switch from credit card billing to invoicing, you are not allowed switch back. Also, the customer only gets an e-mail notification addressed only to the network administrator and not the person who writes the cheques. So I had to set up a forwarder rule. However, back to the person who writes the cheques: They find the Intune billing portal not very user friendly and have to "dig" to find what they are looking for. My odyssey to get Microsoft to e-mail them direct with attached invoice continues. So far any representative I've spoken to seems either too frightened to use initiative and give me straight frank answers or they speak "export English" and don't really grasp the issue.

  3. Easy-Assist is not as easy to set up as you would imagine. I still find "Log Me In" or "Mikogo" far more end-user friendly and faster to implement sessions than Easy-Assist.

Thus far we have only been able to implement one of our customer sites with Intune. But if the price came down we could sell it to more clients. Microsoft still demonstrates massive contradictions in giving administrators control over their cloud-based apps; I've had similar ridiculous incidents with them over BPOS. Contradiction because they claim that they give you, the administrator, more control because everything is now in the cloud. The way they want you to work is one-dimensional and this does not reflect real-world computing. At least over time they seem to have revised and eased restrictions, like recently allowing administrators to set passwords to never expire. Could they not also restrict administrative access to public IP address?

Anyway these are my thoughts and experiences with Microsoft Intune...and I snuck in BPOS (Office 365) in there too.

Thanks for writing, David. As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said of partners last month at the Worldwide Partner Conference, "You're always pushing us, pushing us, pushing us" to be better. Well, here's some pushing. Sounds like international pricing could use more thought in some subsidiaries and Microsoft's billing infrastructure, touted as a function that's too complicated for partners to handle directly themselves, isn't quite the well-oiled machine it's supposed to be.

More Windows Intune Coverage on RCPmag.com:

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 03, 2011 at 11:58 AM