Windows Intune hits the street March 23

Cloud-based PC management solution is priced at $11 per PC per month

Microsoft said today that the final version of its Windows Intune cloud-delivered PC management solution for businesses will be available for purchase or the start of a free 30-day trial on March 23 in 35 countries.

Intune is another element of Microsoft’s cloud strategy to get IT delivered over the Internet rather than through the traditional on-premise licensing model. Intune manages delivery of updates, malware protection, performance monitoring, troubleshooting and other services to PCs whether on the corporate network or at remote locations. And to further the migration of PC users to the latest version of Windows, an Intune prescription includes Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade to more easily accomplish the migration.

“We ... look forward to hearing how Windows Intune is helping your business simplify PC management and amplify productivity and savings,” wrote Gavriella Schuster, general manager for Windows product management at Microsoft, in a blog post this morning.

Intune marks the introduction of the first Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) that’s available to Microsoft users that do not have a Software Assurance (SA) license. A core feature of MDOP is App-V, a desktop virtualization tool created by Softricity, which Microsoft acquired 2006. Up until now Microsoft restricted App-V to SA License holders.

Interest in Intune has been strong with beta testers snapping up all 1,000 beta positions a little more than a day after its release in April 2010. When the second beta was released in July, all 10,000 available positions were snapped up by September. Microsoft said second beta users can keep using that version of Intune until April 18. Then it's time to pay up to the tune of US$11 per PC per month, although volume discounts will be available for purchases of 250 licenses or more.

Intune is designed to leverage Microsoft’s other cloud initiatives, including Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365, Schuster wrote.

The March 23 launch date coincides with the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 in Las Vegas.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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