Customers want a great Microsoft 365 experience on any endpoint they choose. When it comes to Android Enterprise, Microsoft and Google work closely together on many levels to deliver one of the best mobility solutions today. While a collaboration between Microsoft and Google may be surprising, we are both focused on making our mutual customers successful and productive on Android devices.
Microsoft Intune, now integrated in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, works closely with Google as part of the Android Enterprise Recommended program for Enterprise Mobility Managers (EMM). For those of you who might not be familiar with all details of this program, this means so much more than just supporting a list of features. It also means that we are working together in a broad, integrated way to help make Android customers successful. Partners in this program are deeply involved across many levels, including engineering, deployment, customer support, and technical education.
I recently had the opportunity to host my counterpart on Google’s Android Enterprise engineering team, Ian Marsanyi, here at building 121, the Microsoft Endpoint Manager home base at Microsoft’s Redmond campus. We have been working together for years on Android Enterprise, and we wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and share with you how we work together.
Microsoft strives to provide customers with the solutions they need to be successful in delivering a secure and highly productive user experience for all platforms we support. On the engineering front, Microsoft is committed to building support for the full breadth of features that are part of Android Enterprise. Microsoft and Google engineering and program management teams meet at least weekly to discuss customer trends, brainstorm and develop solutions to issues, and prioritize customer feature requests. Microsoft and Google also have built a global team of customer specialists with deep Android knowledge who can engage on joint customer deployment and technical issues.
Should an issue occur, there are processes in place that allow Microsoft to engage Android Enterprise engineers directly. And in case it should ever be needed, Microsoft Endpoint Manager is onboarded to Android Enterprise’s 24/7 partner escalation desk, which means we can jump on any production issues no matter the time of day.
In 2017, Google announced general availability of the Android Management API. Microsoft Endpoint Manager is proud to be an early adopter of this new technology, and we feel that our customers have much to gain from our close collaboration with Google on this architecture. Microsoft Endpoint Manager’s choice of Android Management API as the backbone for our Android mobile device management (MDM) solution allows our engineers to focus our efforts on customer value – differentiating and building value-add capabilities. Microsoft Endpoint Manager's Android Enterprise solutions powered by the Android Management API are in production today and serving tens of thousands of our customers.
If you look at the pure breadth of what we have available for dedicated and fully managed devices, we're confident it will speak for itself.
One of the biggest Microsoft Endpoint Manager releases this year has been the support for fully managed Android devices, which allows IT admins to manage the entire device experience on company-owned Android devices and protect work data. This is an important milestone to help customers on the legacy “device admin” management mode of Android transition to Android Enterprise mode for company owned devices, as recommended by Google. It also brings the full power of Microsoft 365 Conditional Access to augment full device management.
This is in addition to Microsoft Endpoint Manager’s existing support for the Android Enterprise dedicated device scenario, which enables IT to support business scenarios such as kiosks, billing systems, digital signage and other such single-purpose devices that tend to be fully locked down. With Android devices being used in all kinds of locations such as warehouses, factories, transportation vehicles, and so on, customers have told us that the ability to remotely manage the devices, deliver apps, and curate the end user experience is very important. Microsoft offers a unique Managed Home Screen experience built by the Microsoft Launcher team and enabled by our integration with the Android Management API.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager customers can also take advantage of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customization of Android to meet business goals by deploying devices from OEM partners such as Samsung, Zebra, and others, including support for any OEM that adopts the OEMConfig standard. OEMConfig is a powerful new standard that allows customers to take advantage of any OEM-specific capabilities with true day zero support.
In future, Microsoft Endpoint Manager customers will be able to deploy fully managed devices with work profile (formerly known as corporate-owned, personally enabled or COPE), which will allow separation of work and personal data at the operating system level on company-owned devices. We are actively working with Google to help ensure that it is built with functionality, ease of use, and, importantly, user privacy in mind. The Android Enterprise team aims to build user privacy into Android Management API with the goal of providing privacy guarantees above what is provided by Android natively to date.
We're very excited for things to come and encouraged by the customer confidence in our joint solutions. Microsoft Endpoint Manager will be showcasing Android Enterprise demos at Microsoft Ignite. If you are attending the event, add this session to your schedule or catch the stream online. Drop by the booth as well; we have a small army of technical experts standing by to answer your questions and learn more about your use cases.
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(This article is authored by Chris Baldwin, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Endpoint Manager)
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