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Citrix and Microsoft to offer XenMobile Office 365 management

Citrix XenMobile will integrate with Microsoft Intune, so Citrix customers can manage Office mobile apps on XenMobile managed devices.

Businesses will soon be able to manage Office mobile apps and data with Citrix XenMobile.

Currently, organizations can only manage Office mobile apps using Intune, which is part of Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). Through a new integration with Intune, Citrix XenMobile will become the first third-party enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform to manage Office apps and data.

The goals are to expand the capabilities existing XenMobile customers can access and to bring the EMM platform to a broader set of customers, said Rajiv Taori, a vice president of product management at Citrix.

Citrix and Microsoft have been close for years, but under new Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov, who previously worked at Microsoft, the two companies have revamped their partnership. In May, they added several integrations between their products, including the ability for Citrix to deliver Windows 10 desktops on Microsoft's Azure cloud.

How XenMobile Office 365 management works

Office mobile apps are free for anyone to download and use, but businesses and consumers must have qualifying Office 365 subscriptions to be able to create and edit documents with the apps.

The technology to manage Office 365 is included in the latest version of XenMobile, and Citrix said it plans to disclose how administrators can use it within the coming week. XenMobile will recognize an Intune container as a secure place to store corporate content, and, in turn, the container will honor any XenMobile policies IT sets. 

The integration gives IT pros the option to manage Office 365 applications and take advantage of the greater set of policies XenMobile provides, said Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass.

"XenMobile brings a longer list of MDM features," he said. "There are certain areas that XenMobile can go deeper on that Intune doesn't have, and that's great for customers."

XenMobile brings a longer list of MDM features.
Mark Bowkersenior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

One of those areas is XenMobile's mobile application management-only offering, which lets IT secure apps and encrypt data without enrolling a device in mobile device management software. XenMobile also offers virtual private network capabilities that EMS doesn't have.

"These are also the reasons why Microsoft wanted to work with us to enhance their mobility," Taori said.

Microsoft can take advantage of this access to Citrix customers to help boost adoption of Office 365, Azure, Active Directory and other services, Bowker said.

"Microsoft recognizes a large and happy customer base with Citrix," he said.

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