As of yesterday afternoon, the Microsoft Remote Desktop App is available in the Android, iOS, and Mac stores (see screen shots below). There was a time, in the very recent past, when many thought something like this would never happen.
If your company has users who work on iPads, Android, and Windows RT devices, you also likely have a strategy (or at least of point-of-view) for how you will deliver Windows applications to those devices. With the Remote Desktop App and the 2012 R2 platforms made available earlier today, you now have a great solution from Microsoft to deliver Windows applications to your users across all the devices they are using.
As I have written about before, one of the things I am actively encouraging organizations to do is to step back and look at their strategy for delivering applications and protecting data across all of their devices. Today, most enterprises are using different tools for enabling users on PCs, and then they deploy another tool for enabling users on their tablets and smart phones. This kind of overheard and the associated costs are unnecessary – but, even more important (or maybe I should say worse), is that your end-users therefore have different and fragmented experiences as they transition across their various devices. A big part of an IT team’s job must be to radically simplify the experience end users have in accomplishing their work – and users are doing that work across all their devices.
I keep bolding “all” here because I am really trying to make a point: Let’s stop thinking about PCs and devices in a fragmented way. What we are trying to accomplish is pretty straightforward: Enable users to access the apps and data they need to be productive in a way that can ensure the corporate assets are secure. Notice that nowhere in that sentence did I mention devices. We should stop talking about PC Lifecycle management, Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management – and instead focus our conversation on how we are enabling users. We need a user-enablement Magic Quadrant!
OK – stepping off my soapbox.
Delivering Windows applications in a server-computing model, through solutions like Remote Desktop Services, is a key requirement in your strategy for application access management. But keep in mind that this is only one of many ways applications can be delivered – and we should consider and account for all of them.
For example, you also have to consider Win32 apps running in a distributed model, modern Windows apps, iOS native apps (side-loaded and deep-linked), Android native apps (side-loaded and deep-linked), SaaS applications, and web applications.
Things have really changed from just 5 years ago when we really only had to worry about Windows apps being delivered to Windows devices.
As you are rethinking your application access strategy, you need solutions that enable you to intelligently manage all these applications types across all the devices your workforce will use.
You should also consider what the Remote Desktop Apps released yesterday are proof of Microsoft’s commitment to enable you to have a single solution to manage all the devices your users will use.
Microsoft describes itself as a “devices and services company.” Let me provide a little more insight into this.
Devices: We will do everything we can to earn your business on Windows devices.
Services: We will light up those Windows devices with the cloud services that we build, and these cloud services will also light-up all (there’s that bold again) your other devices.
The funny thing about cloud services is that they want every device possible to connect to them – we are working to make sure the cloud services that we are building for the enterprise will bring value to all (again!) the devices your users will want to use – whether those are Windows, iOS, or Android.
The RDP clients that we released into the stores yesterday are not v1 apps. Back in June, we acquired IP assets from an organization in Austria (HLW Software Development GMBH) that had been building and delivering RDP clients for a number of years. In fact, there were more than 1 million downloads of their RDP clients from the Apple and Android stores. The team has done an incredible job using them as a base for development of our Remote Desktop App, creating a very simple and compelling experience on iOS, Mac OS X and Android. You should definitely give them a try!
Also: Did I mention they are free?
To start using the Microsoft Remote Desktop App for any of these platforms, simply follow these links: