Wow: Remote Desktop Goes Cross Platform!

Wow: Remote Desktop Goes Cross Platform!

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As of yesterday afternoon, the Microsoft Remote Desktop App is available in the Android, iOS, and Mac stores (see screen shots below). There was a time, in the very recent past, when many thought something like this would never happen.

If your company has users who work on iPads, Android, and Windows RT devices, you also likely have a strategy (or at least of point-of-view) for how you will deliver Windows applications to those devices. With the Remote Desktop App and the 2012 R2 platforms made available earlier today, you now have a great solution from Microsoft to deliver Windows applications to your users across all the devices they are using.

As I have written about before, one of the things I am actively encouraging organizations to do is to step back and look at their strategy for delivering applications and protecting data across all of their devices. Today, most enterprises are using different tools for enabling users on PCs, and then they deploy another tool for enabling users on their tablets and smart phones. This kind of overheard and the associated costs are unnecessary – but, even more important (or maybe I should say worse), is that your end-users therefore have different and fragmented experiences as they transition across their various devices. A big part of an IT team’s job must be to radically simplify the experience end users have in accomplishing their work – and users are doing that work across all their devices.

I keep bolding “all” here because I am really trying to make a point:  Let’s stop thinking about PCs and devices in a fragmented way. What we are trying to accomplish is pretty straightforward: Enable users to access the apps and data they need to be productive in a way that can ensure the corporate assets are secure. Notice that nowhere in that sentence did I mention devices. We should stop talking about PC Lifecycle management, Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management – and instead focus our conversation on how we are enabling users. We need a user-enablement Magic Quadrant!

OK – stepping off my soapbox. Smile

Delivering Windows applications in a server-computing model, through solutions like Remote Desktop Services, is a key requirement in your strategy for application access management. But keep in mind that this is only one of many ways applications can be delivered – and we should consider and account for all of them.

For example, you also have to consider Win32 apps running in a distributed model, modern Windows apps, iOS native apps (side-loaded and deep-linked), Android native apps (side-loaded and deep-linked), SaaS applications, and web applications.

Things have really changed from just 5 years ago when we really only had to worry about Windows apps being delivered to Windows devices.

As you are rethinking your application access strategy, you need solutions that enable you to intelligently manage all these applications types across all the devices your workforce will use.

You should also consider what the Remote Desktop Apps released yesterday are proof of Microsoft’s commitment to enable you to have a single solution to manage all the devices your users will use.

Microsoft describes itself as a “devices and services company.” Let me provide a little more insight into this.

Devices: We will do everything we can to earn your business on Windows devices.

Services: We will light up those Windows devices with the cloud services that we build, and these cloud services will also light-up all (there’s that bold again) your other devices.

The funny thing about cloud services is that they want every device possible to connect to them – we are working to make sure the cloud services that we are building for the enterprise will bring value to all (again!) the devices your users will want to use – whether those are Windows, iOS, or Android.

The RDP clients that we released into the stores yesterday are not v1 apps. Back in June, we acquired IP assets from an organization in Austria (HLW Software Development GMBH) that had been building and delivering RDP clients for a number of years. In fact, there were more than 1 million downloads of their RDP clients from the Apple and Android stores.  The team has done an incredible job using them as a base for development of our Remote Desktop App, creating a very simple and compelling experience on iOS, Mac OS X and Android. You should definitely give them a try!

Also: Did I mention they are free?

To start using the Microsoft Remote Desktop App for any of these platforms, simply follow these links:

Android Store


iOS Store


Mac Store


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  • Are RemoteApp feeds available for all these platforms?

  • How about Remote Desktop for windows phone? Why Microsoft doesn't put their own products on par with competition? Android support but no WP? really?

  • Yo no se configurar esto no se que poner en el nombre de host ni nada ni que contraseña ayudenme por favor

  • this is all great but what about remoting for consumers...ever since live mesh went away we have no way of remoting into other pc's over the internet and this is when I really need to be helping friends and family w/ the transition to windows 8.1, please add this functionality to the new rd app so that people not on domains have a way to rd into pc's!! ;)

  • @JoshJacob

    -I can't remember where I got this but Sky Drive is the limited but heir apparent to Live Mesh:

    SkyDrive doesn’t have an integrated remote desktop feature. If you only want remote access to your files, you can use the Remote Fetch feature in SkyDrive. With Remote Fetch, you can remotely “fetch” any file from a powered-on computer. This is ideal if you only need remote access to your files.

    If you need full remote desktop access, you’ll have to use another solution. Windows includes a built-in Remote Desktop feature, but it’s more difficult to use over the Internet and the remote desktop server isn’t available in Home versions of Windows.

    To use Windows’ Remote Desktop feature securely over the Internet, you may want to try a VPN solution like LogMeIn Hamachi. Once you’ve set up a VPN and connected to it, you can use the Remote Desktop feature in Windows and remote desktop into other computers connected to the VPN.

    You may also want to try another solution, such as TeamViewer, VNC, or the remote desktop feature integrated into Google Chrome.

  • Yet again Windows Phone is left out, not that it matters because this is relatively useless without VPN support.

  • Why is there no simple, "make all drives available in the RDP session" option, as there is in the previous Remote Desktop Connection app? Having to add each folder in folder re-direction is a pain.

  • Is the Microsoft Remote Desktop Apps globalized yet? If a Japanese customer is going to use Remote Desktop Apps for iOS/Android, could he/she see it in Japanese?

  • Anyone else experiencing issues where the microphone (audio over rdp) does not work?

    In my case, RDP from MAC to Windows 7 Ent workstation to use remote app (Lync)

  • am I missing something or does this new client still NOT support SMART CARD authentication?

  • ALL Devices. Exept MS own Phone OS....

  • @Dave I am waiting for NoMachine's iOS and Android clients. Their traditional client has all the bells and whistles including smart card authentiction and the speed is phenomenal. For now I am getting by with their browser-based product which lets me use my iPad's Safari to get to my remote Windows. This doesn't have smart card though.

  • MS, please add smartcard support!

  • Thank you Microsoft!

    I'm using RD Client in my ipad, and it works fine. Very easy to configure and to use.

  • Client for Windows Phone: