Microsoft, as MSPmentor suspected, is extending Windows Intune (a cloud-based PC management platform) to mobile device management (MDM) for Windows Phone 7, Apple iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Microsoft deserves applause for the apparent move. But MSPmentor believes Windows Intune needs to take two more logical steps: Change the Windows Intune name, and extend support out to Linux and Mac OS X systems. Here's why.

Windows Intune was originally designed purely for Windows PC management. That may appeal to big Windows shops. But Microsoft insiders kept hinting to me that the software giant was keeping an open mind, and considering additional platform support because most customers now have mixed operating system environments.

The cross-platform MDM market, where tablets and smartphones are the rage, is a first natural step. But in my opinion that doesn't go far enough. Most MSPs are now managing mixed PC environments, with Mac OS X widely deployed and Linux finding pockets of success. To give Windows Intune mass appeal, Microsoft should (A) change the tool's brand and (B) extend out to Mac OS X and Linux support.

Simply put: The Windows Intune brand doesn't make much sense if the tool will allow partners and customers to manage non-Windows systems. Going forward, just call it Microsoft Intune.

Meanwhile, sources say Windows Intune's next iteration, with the MDM support, will likely be announced at this week's Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas. MSPmentor first heard the Windows Intune MDM rumblings on April 12. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley furthered the story on April 16.