Windows 8 ARM: no remote management for businesses

A few hours before Microsoft officially released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, it published a guide for businesses considering adoption of the new operating system. While Microsoft unsurprisingly touts the OS as being ideal for businesses of all sizes, that’s not strictly true, as there are some limitations in the ARM-based version of Windows that will make it much less appealing to enterprise.

As Ars Technica spotted, the guide explains: “Although the ARM-based version of Windows does not include the same manageability features that are in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, businesses can use these power-saving devices in unmanaged environments.” This means that businesses won’t be able to remotely manage ARM-based tablets through System Center, remotely deploy apps and programs to ARM devices, or add those devices to Active Directory domains.

Microsoft identifies the ‘Windows to Go’ option of creating a USB drive with a corporate Windows 8 image on it as an alternative, but the need for such a workaround does appear to undermine the case for Windows 8 tablets in enterprise environments, especially when iPads and Android tablets can already be managed remotely.

For launch at least, it appears that Microsoft is positioning Windows 8 on ARM as a consumer-focused offering; however, it's more or less a given that business-focused x86 and x64 tablets will become available for larger organisations that plan to provide tablets to their staff, and these non-ARM devices will offer the enterprise management features that Windows 8 on ARM lacks.

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