Last week, in Upcoming Windows Intune Release Installs Endpoint Protection By Default, I noted that next version of Windows Intune would release sometime in the first quarter of 2014. That sometime now happens to be next week, the first full week of February 2014.

In a post on the Microsoft Server & Management blogs, Brad Anderson lays out the company's continued efforts to provide robust and secure solutions for BYO and Consumerization. Brad also says he'll be expanding on these topics and talking about them more in the coming months. Obviously, we'll hear a LOT about these at TechEd 2014 where they are, this year, merging the Microsoft Management Summit with Microsoft's larger event.

Tip: Want to know what hot topics will be on display at TechEd each year? Just follow Microsoft's blogs and Download Center to get a very good idea.

Here's what Brad says is coming in the Windows Intune update next week:

  • Support for e-mail profiles that can configure a device with the correct e-mail server information and related policies – and it can also remove that profile and related e-mail via a remote wipe.
  • In addition to our unified deployment mode and integration with System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Intune can now stand alone as a cloud-only MDM solution. This is a big win for organizations that want a cloud-only management solutions to manage both their mobile devices and PC’s.
  • There is also support for new data protection settings in iOS 7 – including the "managed open in" capability that protects corporate data by controlling the apps and accounts that can open documents and attachments.
  • This update also enables broader protection capabilities like remotely locking a lost device, or resetting a device’s PIN if forgotten.

To get a refresher on Microsoft's commitment to the MDM industry, read through Brad's post:

A People-centric Approach to Mobile Device Management

P.S. From recent discussions with various insiders, it's my understanding that Microsoft is so invested in solving the MDM problem that other products managed by the same product groups are suffering a bit because of it. Product updates and feature requests are being sidelined due to redirected resources and excessive work on beefing up pieces like Windows Intune. Understandably, Microsoft has stated clearly that "Cloud First" is the settled development guideline, but how long before the company gets into a similar situation as they've experienced with negative customer feedback for Windows 8? The Commercial-side of the business (Server and Tools) is still the one area of the company that continues to grow at a fantastic rate, and is the primary reason for a stellar Q4 earnings report. Even in Brad's post he states that System Center Configuration Manager is the undisputed market leader, but that product kind of cuts against the "Cloud First" grain since it's purely an on-premise product. Windows Intune is not the market leader – far from it. Let's hope Microsoft doesn't lose ground and lose customers because they are so focused and start ignoring what customers really want. If you don't know what I mean, read through the recent: 2014 is the Year of the Customer-Driven Cloud.