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Microsoft fleshes out cross-platform mobile strategy

Tim Anderson

Microsoft today unveiled several enhancements to its developer tools and mobile platforms, reinforcing its committment to cross-platform development.

"We aim to enable the user to be productive on their devices on all operating systems – iOS, Android and Windows," said Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice-president of cloud and enterprise, at the TechEd developer conference.

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The company also revealed improvements to its Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), announced in January.

Microsoft has now introduced a new InTune capability for managed apps. Managed apps are subject to policy, such as restrictions on where data can be saved. The idea is to protect business data and separate it from personal data. 

The first managed apps will be Microsoft Office for iOS and Android, which will be available towards the end of 2014. In addition, enterprises will be able to wrap custom apps for inclusion in the service.

Enterprise Mobility Suite

InTunes A cloud service for mobile device management, which can link to System Center Configuration Manager.

Hybrid Identity Management Azure Active Directory Premium An extended version of the company’s cloud directory service, adding features such as group-based provisioning, usage reporting, and corporate branding for the logon portal.

Information Protection Azure Rights Management Lets businesses encrypt and control usage of protected documents, such as Microsoft Office and PDF files.

Microsoft is also adding cross-platform tooling to its Visual Studio development tool. Now in preview, the new tooling is based on the open-source Apache Cordova project, which shares technology with Adobe PhoneGap for delivering HTML and JavaScript apps as native applications. 

This approach runs alongside a partnership with Xamarin that enables developers to write apps for iOS and Android using C#.

At TechEd, Microsoft also said its Visual Studio Update 2, which now supports Universal Apps for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 update, has been released to manufacturing.


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