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Microsoft rumored to debut Enterprise Mobility Suite, Office for iPad on Thursday

Illustration of Windows Intune. | Source: Microsoft

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Many expect Microsoft to launch Office for iPad on Thursday, but fresh rumors say the company may also make a play for mass device management with a cross-platform Enterprise Mobility Suite, a competitor to Apple's recently released Deployment Programs initiative.

Citing sources, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports Microsoft is preparing to release a licensing bundle being called the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), which is aimed at enterprise customers requiring a cross-platform device management solution.

According to the publication, EMS is able to manage mobile devices running iOS, Android, Windows and more from a central location. The setup can be considered an enhancement of existing Microsoft technology that leverages Windows Server, System Center and Windows Intune to manage devices across various platforms.

Sources say EMS will feature Windows Intune, an updated "Premium" Azure Active Directory and Azure Rights Management Services. Combining the licensed assets, enterprise customers will be able to manage deployed devices from the cloud on a more granular level. This would be a boon for larger companies with bring your own device (BYOD) policies that do not limit employees to a specific OS.

Foley reports Windows Intune is being reworked with in-the-cloud device management features, negating the need for System Center. The solution is expected to support the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 and Samsung's Knox security system, among other platforms.

Apple recently rolled out its own iOS-only mass device management (MDM) solution for IT professionals working in education and enterprise. Counted among the features of Apple's retooled MDM program is a "zero-touch configuration" tool that automates device setup and enrollment over wireless communications.

Also thought to be on tap for tomorrow's event is the debut of Microsoft's much anticipated Office for iPad. Many expect CEO Satya Nadella to announce the software, though not much else is known about the title. Some speculate Office for iPad will be akin to Office Mobile and may require a subscription to Office 365.

AppleInsider will be at Microsoft's cloud and mobile press event tomorrow, so stay tuned for the latest news.