Microsoft Increases Windows Phone 8 Support Lifecycle To Three Years


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Microsoft Windows is the go to desktop operating system for enterprise. The company is having some trouble convincing companies to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8, but they're at least still using Windows. Microsoft is having no such luck when it comes to Windows Phone though.

To convince companies that Windows Phone 8 is the way to go, Microsoft has announced that it will extend Windows Phone 8's support lifecycle to three years from the original 18 months. This means that enterprise customers would continue to receive security and functional updates on all Windows Phone 8 devices until January 2016.

Will an increased product support lifecycle be enough to bring enterprise customers to Windows Phone 8? Maybe not, but Microsoft has another plan to attract the ever so lucrative enterprise contract - a feature pack.

As part of the same announcement, Microsoft said that it will release an enterprise feature pack in the first half of 2014. The feature pack will "provide IT departments with more control over Windows Phones and give their employees a fuller productivity experience." As for specific features, this is what enterprise customers can look forward to:

  • S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
  • Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware, auto-triggered VPN
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS
  • Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying installation of certain apps
  • Certificate management to enroll, update, and revoke certificates for user authentication
  • With an increased support lifecycle and the enterprise feature pack, Microsoft is serious about capturing the mobile enterprise market. It may be a little too late to the party, however, as many companies are now turning to iOS and Android devices that offer similar features already. There's also the fact that many companies are now turning to BYOD instead of issuing devices to employees. At that point, the fight turns into convincing consumers to buy Windows Phone 8, and Microsoft hasn't had much luck there yet.