Office 2013 Upgrade program


It seems that Office 2013 will appear on the Volume License (VL) price lists from October, despite not being released for around another 6 months. Could this be because the Surface RT tablets, to be released on October 26th, will include Office 2013 and Microsoft feel the need/must have it on the VL price lists for some reason? I’m not sure but it seems odd that it will be on there SO far prior to the availability of the next version of Office.

Microsoft are also, so it seems, gearing up to start a tech guarantee program whereby people who buy Office 2010 will receive a guaranteed upgrade to Office 2013 upon it’s release.

Will it be free like the last Office tech guarantee program or will there be a small charge like the Windows 8 upgrade program? We don’t know but either way it’s a good offer!

ZDNet’s Mary Jo has more details over on her blog:

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-readies-office-2010-to-office-2013-upgrade-program-7000004138/

Forefront Product Cull


Microsoft are discontinuing a number of their Forefront security products:

  • Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server (FPE)
  • Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint (FPSP)
  • Forefront Security for Office Communications Server (FSOCS)
  • Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 (TMG)
  • Forefront Threat Management Gateway Web Protection Services (TMG WPS)
  • There will be no further releases of these products and “Forefront Online Protection for Exchange” AKA “FOPE” will, from the next release be known as, “Exchange Online Protection”.

    Additionally, “basic malware protection” is being added to Exchange 2013, although this can be “easily turned off, replaced, or paired with other services”.

    Both Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) & Unified Access Gateway (UAG) are continuing to be actively developed.

    The full Microsoft post is here:

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/09/12/important-changes-to-forefront-product-roadmaps.aspx

    Managing Windows RT tablets & Windows Intune Licensing Changes


    Windows 8 RT is a new member of the Windows family, and one that’s caused/causing some confusion when it comes to management. It transpired a while ago that Windows RT pcs/tablets will not be able to join Active Directory domains and since then, people have been wondering exactly how they’d manage these devices. Well the answer is here – Windows Intune & System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) SP1.

    “Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT devices will be managed by the next release of Windows Intune.  IT Pros will have the flexibility of using either the Windows Intune or Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 console to set mobile security policies, distribute mobile apps and view reports.  We’ll share more details as we get closer to the next release of Windows Intune.”

    As Windows Intune is becoming more of a star, it’s getting some licensing changes too – always a favourite thing of mine :-)

    1. We are shifting from a per-device to a per-user licensing model.  Each user license for Windows Intune covers up to 5 managed devices.
    2. There will be a Windows Intune user license that includes the rights to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, enabling organizations to manage those devices through either Windows Intune or Configuration Manager, or both
    3. Organizations that already own System Center 2012 Configuration Manager licenses, such as through the Core CAL, will have access to Windows Intune at a reduced price
    4. We will also make a version of Windows Intune available without rights to Windows Enterprise, thereby lowering the cost for organizations that are not ready to move to the latest operating system.

    That final point is something I’ve been hoping to see since the first release of Intune. I’ve always felt that having the desktop OS and a systems management product intertwined muddy the waters and made it a more difficult proposition in many cases; so this is a positive move that will enable Intune to shine in its own light.

    It’s also interesting to note that SP1 of SCCM will be able to manage other types of devices including:

    • Windows Embedded Thin Clients
    • Point of Sale (PoS) terminals
    • Digital Signage
    • Kiosks

    as well as:

  • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
  • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
  • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
  • I’m pleased to see this move to bring Windows RT into the management fold, making it easier for partners AND customers to tell, understand and take part in the Windows 8 story.

    See the whole post over at:

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/09/10/system-center-2012-configuration-manager-sp1-beta-and-windows-intune-update.aspx

    Sideloading Apps in Windows 8


    Many organizations have there own Line Of Business (LOB) systems that they use internally, and in Windows 8 there are 2 ways of installing these on machines:

    • Via the Windows Store
    • Sideloading (I.e. bypassing the Windows Store)

    How to Sideload:

    Sideloading is a Software Assurance (SA) benefit & the document I have from MS says:

    “Windows EA, Select SA, and EES customers will be granted sideloading license rights”

    It doesn’t mention Open SA customers there but I see no reason they would be excluded, so I will ask for clarification on that.

    The requisite license keys for this will automatically be provided via the VLSC.

    If you do not have SA, Sideloading is still possible…for a charge:

    WinSideLoad-H 8 Sngl OPEN 100 License = £2,435

    Purchase this license and you will then receive the license keys via the VLSC.

    Of course, it is still free for companies to publish their apps via the Store, but this method affords them more privacy.

    I have to say I’m not 100% sure why the ability to sideload outside of SA has a fee attached too it. Is it in an attempt to ensure companies are serious about the apps they deploy, and stopping them pushing out willy nilly, poorly created apps that will detract from the Windows 8 experience?

    Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 Device


    Windows Phone 8 is not far away and today we’ve seen sneak previews of 2 devices that will surely be revealed at Nokia’s event on September 5th, alongside Microsoft.

    Nokia Lumia 920

    image

    What will it include?

    • Wireless Charging
    • 32GB Storage
    • 1GB RAM
    • 1.5GHz Dual Core CPU
    • 4.5” HD Display
    • Front Facing Camera

    The Verge also report that the camera will be branded as “PureView” but will be 8MP rather than 41 as on the Nokia 808. Until my Lumia 800, I’ve never had a Nokia nor have I had any interest in Nokia if I’m honest, so I haven’t come across the PureView brand before. What I gather is that it’s a kick-ass camera and people are upset that this has just 8 megapixels yet is being branded as PureView. Nokia say there have been advancements in image stabilization & software that mean they can brand it as such which seems reasonable to me, we all know that megapixels aren’t everything :-)

    This looks like it could well be my next phone…double the storage which will be great for my ever more eclectic music taste, a front facing camera for making use of the baked in Skype features and WIRELESS CHARGING – that is some Star Trek stuff right there!

    Here’s a picture of the wireless charging mat via @evleaks:

    image