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Microsoft readies tool for managing iPads, iPhones and Android devices

Microsoft System Center

Just when you thought you were out, Microsoft pulls you back in. The Seattle-based giant is planning on getting its hooks into your iPad and iPhone. Well, sort of.

Microsoft has just announced a first beta of a new piece of management software, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012, which will let users manage iPads and iPhones, as well as Symbian, Android and even Windows Phone 7 devices.

Although few details have been announced, it seems likely that SCCM 2012 will allow corporate IT departments to enforce things like password complexity and security on target devices, wipe them remotely in case of loss or theft and so on. And, while your first impression might be that it's the Borg once again trying to assimilate you, in fact, it's a move that will allow you to use something other than Microsoft devices in a corporate environment.

That in itself might seem like a bad move on Microsoft's part, cannibalizing sales of its own phone and tablet systems, but the company has a long history of reaching out to other platforms. And don't forget that Microsoft's many departments have a fair amount of autonomy when it comes to deciding where products are targeted. The Office division apparently produces a fairly decent bit of software for the Mac, for example, and the Bing team offers iPhone enhancements that won't be available on Windows 7 phones until the end of this year.

Since each division is a separate profit center within the Microsoft Corporation, this is most likely just a case of the System Center team seeing an opportunity to make a buck by providing a feature that customers want.

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