Microsoft announces remote device management... for iPhone and iPad?

ZDNET reports that Microsoft has announced that System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012 will provide remote management for ActiveSync devices... like iPhone and iPad. The successor to Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager (MSCMDM, an acronym that, if spoken out loud, no doubt sends a Superman villain back to the 5th dimension...), it makes you wonder why Microsoft would be expanding to support devices other than their own Windows Phone? Mary Jo Foley answers:

My first thought when I heard that SCCM 2012 will enable management of iPads is that Microsoft may be undercutting its own argument that Windows-based slates and tablets are inherently better because IT managers can’t manage iPads as easily and well as they can Windows-based PCs and devices. If Microsoft makes enterprise management of iPads a key selling point, won’t the company be removing one of the advantages it claims for Windows slates?

Because different Microsoft teams have different masters — and different views of what’s needed to drive their respective businesses — one Microsoft product team may end up doing something that another team may not love. Example: The Bing team is continuing to roll out all kinds of mobile browser enhancements for iPhones and Android phones that Windows Phone 7 users won’t get until the end of this year. Another: The Office team has ported OneNote to the iPhone and may end up moving other Office apps to the iOS platform — a decision that may not be popular with the Windows team, which would prefer Office to remain a crown jewel for Windows users.

Do you manage iOS device in your enterprise? Will this functionality be of use to you?