Windows Phone to get long-awaited enterprise update

The update brings a lot of new security options to enterprise users and will be here soon, Microsoft said

Microsoft will soon offer an update to its Windows Phone operating system that will bring a number of new features targeted at enterprise users.

The update will be offered "later this spring" and will add new security options, including signed and encrypted S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) and automatic triggering of the virtual private network client when an enterprise resource is accessed, said Joe Belfiore, Microsoft corporate vice president at a Mobile World Congress news conference.

There will also be added support for enterprise Wi-Fi systems using EAP-TLS (Extensible Authentication Protocol-Transport Layer Security) encryption, enhanced MDM (mobile device management) policies and certificate management to enroll, update and revoke credentials for authentication, he said.

Microsoft first started talking about some of these enhancements in the middle of 2013, so they've been a long time coming.

What's not yet known is when they'll be available to end users.

Belfiore was keen to point out that "all Windows Phone 8 devices will be technically available" for the update, but such operating system updates are typically deployed by carriers so don't necessarily reach all users at the same time.

They'll come as Windows Phone is seeing some success in Europe and developing markets.

The operating system has a share of at least 10 percent in Europe, according to one estimate, and Nokia's 520 handset was the number-three best-selling phone in the U.K. in December, ahead of all Android phones, said Belfiore.

On a global basis, the platform has already overtaken BlackBerry to become the number-three player, although with an estimated 3.2 percent of the global market in 2013, it ranks well behind the number-two platform, iOS, at 15.6 percent, according to Gartner figures.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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