Friday Notebook, February 2: Outlook mobile supports AppConfig

Also: Extended Windows 10 support, Google Play reacting to malware faster, more G Suite numbers, Citrix earnings, and more.

This is my weekly log of everything that’s happened in the EUC, EMM, and desktop virtualization space.

Industry news we covered

Appthority announces integration with managed Google Play. Automatic app white/blacklisting could be the next step. (The recent Guardian story about how the Strava app gave away the location of secret US army bases is a textbook example of why some organizations need mobile app reputation services like Appthority, as well as why some workplaces should call for very strict BYOD controls.)

Wyse announces new PC to thin client converter along with other software updates. Wyse is also announcing ThinOS 8.5, Wyse Management Suite 1.1, and a Windows kiosk tool called Wyse Easy Setup.

PolicyPak announces Start Screen and Taskbar Manager. Even if you're not trying to do MDM, Windows 10 still brings new challenges.

Site news

Following his recent departure from this site, Gabe Knuth has shared news his next move—he’s now a product marketing manager for FSLogix. Congratulations to Gabe and the FSLogix team! In the meantime, we’re looking to hire a site editor to work with me here in San Francisco, and we’re expanding our freelance program. Read more here, and reach out if you’re interested.

Watch now: The TeamRGE / GeekOut 365 videos are available.

More industry news

The Microsoft Graph API for Intune is now generally available. Among other things, it will allow third-party EMM vendors to use Intune as middleware to manage Office Mobile apps using app-level MAM techniques. Most of the big EMM vendors announced plans to support it last year; now we’ll see how production rollouts go and what other business opportunities come up.

App-level MAM features for Office Mobile apps are somewhat of a protective moat for Intune, and until this week, none of these apps supported open MDM standards for app configuration. (I wrote a PSA about how ISVs should support these standards.) However, on Tuesday, it was announced that Outlook for iOS and Android will support MDM configuration standards, allowing MDM servers to provision account settings for on-premises Exchange servers. Note that this announcement came from the Exchange blog, not the Intune blog. I suspect that it was the Exchange team that was pushing for these capabilities, and I’m not expecting many more of open configurations to crop up in other Office Mobile apps. But either way, these are a welcome feature.

On Monday, news dropped that Dell is considering going public via a reverse-merger with VMware. This is largely a business structure issue in response to tax changes, though El Reg argues that a closer relationship could hurt partner and customer goodwill. Either way, from the EUC side, we’ve been watching products get closer for two years already, so there likely won’t me much of a change for us. We’ll be watching this, but that’s probably all there is to say for now.

Microsoft granted a six-month extension to enterprise support for Windows 10 versions 1607, 1703, and 1709, for a total of 24 months of support for each. (Via Mary Jo Foley.) This follows the extension for 1511 from last year. The question is whether enterprises will get better at Windows as a Service, or if 24 months should be the standard (instead of the current 18 months of enterprise support). The announcement also included information on Office ProPlus and Office 2019 support plans.

In a blog post, Google wrote about its efforts to fight malware in Google Play in 2017. They’ve gotten faster at removing bad apps, and the chance of installing a potentially harmful app is down by 50%. The post has a lot of figures, but we’ll get a much fuller picture when they release the 2017 Android Security Year in Review. In the meantime, remember that the rate of actual incidents is much lower than FUD-y headlines would have you believe, and getting malware onto many Android phones is actually kind of difficult.

News that MobileIron is teaming up with Google Orbitera spread fast, but so far the details are light. I have a call with MobileIron next Monday, so check back for the details and analysis. Related: here’s what’s new in MobileIron Cloud.

Last weekend, Microsoft pushed an update to disable Intel’s patch for the Spectre variant 2 bug. In the meantime, performance monitoring companies are continuing to look at the impact. This week Login VSI shared data on Windows 10 and Windows 7. There are a lot of different scenarios to test as different patches and optimizations come and go. As has been said many times already, your mileage may vary, and  buckle in and get ready for a long haul.

Last week we looked at G Suite growth in Okta’s Businesses at Work 2018 report, here’s more: G Suite customers doubled in the last two years to more than four million, and sales are $1.3 billion. (Via Reuters.)

Many vendors posted their 2017 earnings this week, but one I’ll highlight here is Citrix. After a tumultuous year, revenue is up 3% to $2.82 billion; subscription revenue accounted for 12% of the total.

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