Windows 8 mobile devices authorised for use by Pentagon employees

By Danny Palmer
14 Jan 2013 View Comments
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Staff at the United States Department of Defense (DoD) could soon be using Pentagon-issued Windows 8 smartphones as part of a joint enterprise licensing agreement (JELA) with Microsoft.

The Department of Defense, which oversees the US Army, Navy and Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), recently announced the three-year, $617m (£384m) deal that allows its personnel to use the latest Microsoft products, such as the Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013.

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The deal also extends to mobile devices, which could potentially see Pentagon staff using Windows 8 mobiles to conduct US Department of Defense business.

"The new Microsoft JELA includes the Window 8 operating system and can be installed on any DoD device, including mobile devices," DoD spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart told Computing.

The move towards Windows 8 so soon after its release marks the DoD out from the majority of organisations, which are currently happy to stick to older versions of the operating system. However, the department has a history of being among the first to test new versions of Windows and Office.

Any use of Windows-based mobile devices by the Pentagon could be seen as quite a coup for Microsoft, especially given the recent trend of US government departments increasingly moving towards the Apple iPhone.

US Immigration and Customs (ICE) announced its intention to provide employees with iPhones in October, while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed similar plans the following month.

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