Microsoft to beef up Windows Phone enterprise features in 2014

With BlackBerry seemingly on the ropes at the the moment, Microsoft clearly sees an opening to go after more business and enterprise users who might dump BlackBerry for other smartphones. Today, as part of the Nokia World press event, Microsoft announced plans to beef up its enterprise features for Windows Phone in 2014.

As reported by WMPoweruser, Microsoft’s Erwin Visser announced during the event that the Enterprise Feature Pack for Windows Phone will be released sometime in the first half of 2014. It will include some long requested additions to the OS such as VPN support, S/MIME encrypted email, a certificate manager, a way to allow or deny certain apps to be installed on enterprise-based phones and more.

In addition, two popular business themed apps, GoToMeeting and Cisco WebEx, are also coming to the Windows Phone Store but no release dates were announced. Finally, Microsoft will extend support for Windows Phone from 18 months to 36 months for business use.

All of these developments are encouraging and it shows that Microsoft wants Windows Phone to be used by business customers as much as Windows is used by those same companies for their PC hardware and software development.

Source: WMPoweruser | Image via WMPoweruser

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~2years late. Something that should have been in 7.5 or at least in 8.0, could have helped with adoption rates, like some others I get the sense it's not going to be full on vpn support either, at least this time around. shame really.

Though it's nice that they are still talking about this, nothing here is new and they couldn't bring these features soon enough... I hope the VPN Support is a full featured product. With all the different VPN options, they need to properly support them. Particularly SSL, etc.

snuffy said,
Can't get S/MIME in OWA 2013 but you will be able to on WP? Microsoft are on crack.

SMIME requires a personal certificate, so you install that on your device. How would you install it in a web browser session?

duddit2 said,

SMIME requires a personal certificate, so you install that on your device. How would you install it in a web browser session?

Import the certificate into the web browser?

duddit2 said,

SMIME requires a personal certificate, so you install that on your device. How would you install it in a web browser session?

Do you know it even exists in OWA 2010?

Stokkolm said,

Import the certificate into the web browser?

But with webmail the server is doing the work and rendering the results in HTML, so the server would need to decrypt your email to show it to you. Read here about the general thoughts on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/MIME

"S/MIME is sometimes considered not properly suited for use via webmail clients. Though support can be hacked into a browser, some security practices require the private key to be kept accessible to the user but inaccessible from the webmail server, complicating the key advantage of webmail: providing ubiquitous accessibility. This issue is not fully specific to S/MIME - other secure methods of signing webmail may also require a browser to execute code to produce the signature, exceptions are PGP Desktop and versions of GnuPG, who will grab the data out of the webmail, sign it by means of a clipboard, and put the signed data back into the webmail page. Seen from the view of security this is the more secure solution. Some organizations[who?] consider it acceptable for webmail servers to be "in on the secrets"; others[who?] do not. Some of the considerations are mentioned below regarding malware. Another argument is that servers often contain data that is confidential to the organization anyway, so what difference does it make if additional data, such as private keys used for decryption, are also stored and used on such servers?
Many make a distinction between private keys used for decryption and those used for digital signatures. They are far more likely to accept sharing of the former than the latter. This is especially true if the non-repudiation aspect of digital signatures is a concern (it may not be). There is fairly universal consensus that non-repudiation requires that a private key be under sole control of its owner during its entire lifecycle. Therefore, decryption done with webmail servers is more likely to be acceptable than digital signatures."

Stokkolm said,
What about setting up your OWA account in Outlook on your personal machine? Would that not accomplish the goal?

Missing the point though, OWA is the web app and outlook is the desktop client, both connect to exchange where your mailbox sits. Using S/MIME in outlook is fine, but in OWA I would imagine plently of issues arising.

Yeah, I understand that, but if you're using Outlook on your personal computer from home I don't see how it's not accomplishing the same thing as accessing it over a browser. Either way you're accessing your exchange account from home.

Hopefully MS will add a "week view", support for color categories and a useful "month view" in Calendar as well as overhaul the mail app.

j2006 said,
They should just port the mail and calendar apps from Win 8.1... they're excellent.

While I am not an expert with the Win 8.1 apps, I use Outlook, yes they are surely better than what we have right now.
The irony is that MS is the company that firs offered a zoomable month view in WM; now we have faked Latin and "Hello from Seattle!"...

Didn't they talk about this a while ago? This is probably a update that's been made up of features that were originally planned for 8.1.

Cyborg_X said,
The wording has me leery. Just need plain old VPN support. App aware VPN support sounds like corporate apps only.

Yeah. I'm not convinced this will be system wide VPN as most people expect. They have been focusing way too hard on it being "app-aware".

Can I assume static IP support is also to be included in this Enterprise Feature Pack? Even though
it's really something that should already be included with the OS by default, like it is on Android.

Brando212 said,
they should have been working on this a long time ago with WP

Agreed. I turned my test, on call Lumia 920 in for an iPhone because of missing features like VPN and a notification screen.

-adrian- said,
Oh notification screen is a problem for you. You clearly didn't understand live tiles than

And where did you get your Live tiles Doctorate where?
Live tiles do not make a " notification centre" useless and redundant for everybody; you do not need it? Do not use it, others will.
Do we all have to sleep with the same kind of mattress? Thanks God not, we do not...

true but competition is not far ahead in this space and MS got enterprise in hand with office, windows and server product. instead they focused on usability first and now adding those features. WP8 is already better option for enterprise with features like bit-locker, office integration, office hub and remote wipe.

-adrian- said,
Oh notification screen is a problem for you. You clearly didn't understand live tiles than

Because scrolling around looking for notifications all over the place in live tiles is much better than a centralized location. Makes perfect sense!

-adrian- said,
Oh notification screen is a problem for you. You clearly didn't understand live tiles than

No, what my problem is would be the lack of previewing multiple email messages on the lock screen. This has nothing to do with Live Tiles, unless if MS could put that on the lock screen. But apparently, MS couldn't figure out how to do that when Android and iPhone have been doing it for years. Good phone/system, just not good for on call use.

shockz said,

Because scrolling around looking for notifications all over the place in live tiles is much better than a centralized location. Makes perfect sense!

Or, even worst, the fact that the Toast Notifications disappear forever... If you don't pin everything that may, at some point in the future, send a notification and you're not staring at your screen every second of every day...

Notifications have been one of the weakest areas of WP since its launch in 2010 and people have constantly clamored for enhancements. Hopefully they finally arrive in 2014... Crazy that those demands will have taken 4 years to be addressed!

shockz said,

Because scrolling around looking for notifications all over the place in live tiles is much better than a centralized location. Makes perfect sense!

True.. because you can have 5 notification in one row on the notification centre. like in apple .. right?
makes it 4x5(6) rows of notifications without scrolling