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Intune Update Due in Mid-October

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The first significant update to Microsoft’s cloud-based PC management service for small and medium-sized businesses will be publicly released on October 17, the company said in a blog post Tuesday.

Initially released as a commercial service in March, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) began beta testing the first major update to what it calls Intune at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Las Vegas in July.

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The service was designed to provide businesses with the ability to manage and secure PCs using Windows cloud services and Windows 7, in order to make it easy for IT staff to handle administration tasks from virtually anywhere using a browser interface, without a server infrastructure at hand, officials said at the time.

The price: $11 per user per month.

“Windows Intune brings together Windows cloud services and a Windows 7 Enterprise subscription to help businesses simplify PC management and security, all while getting the benefits of a modern operating system,” Alex Heaton, group product manager for Windows, said in a post to the Windows for your Business Blog Tuesday.

The first release of Microsoft Intune began beta testing with 1,000 customers and partners in April 2010 in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. It was later updated to include some 10,000 testers. In announcing the new beta in July, officials said the release would occur before the end of the year.

Now that date is certain — unless, of course, Microsoft misses it.

Among the new and updated features coming in October is a remote tasks capability that lets administrators run malware checks on PCs they manage.

Additionally, Heaton said, the update will be able to deploy most Microsoft and third-party updates or applications to PCs over the Internet. Administrators will also be able to grant users limited privileges to read PC configuration information but not change it.

Current Intune subscribers will receive the update automatically within a few weeks following commercial availability, Heaton added.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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