Back in July, we heard about Microsoft’s plans to offer Windows 10 devices and management as a service, and on Monday, Microsoft officially announced the program, called Microsoft Managed Desktop.
I was wondering if there would be any net new management features or integrations (plus, there was a little bit of consumer blog craziness about it), but it turns out that it’s a fairly standard-sounding managed services and partner program play.
What is Microsoft Managed Desktop?
It’s a bundle that includes:
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which includes Windows 10 licenses, Office 365, and EMS (Intune, Azure AD, and a few other EUC security products).
- Device leasing, with typical services such as support services, device replacement, 3-year lifecycles, and so on.
- Device management, including provisioning via AutoPilot, and OS patching and upgrades. Microsoft will use its analytics offerings to help decide when to do updates.
Partners will include Dell, HP, DXC, HCL, Computacenter, and Accenture/Avanade.
Why do it?
Microsoft Managed Desktop is using existing products and features, offering a service that many other companies have provided for years. I don’t think this is any big land grab in the services space, either, since they mentioned partners in the announcement blog post.
So, the reactionary blogs (here’s another one) can probably calm down. This sounds like a standard industry move to help with the adoption of newer features—i.e., AutoPilot and actually staying on the Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel. Microsoft Managed Desktop is also a good complement to Microsoft 365.
Coincidentally, this comes just after Microsoft announced 30-month lifespans for the Fall versions of Windows 10, and extended support for Windows 7. Really, these are two sides of the same coin.