According to a post on the Windows For Your Business Blog, Microsoft will deliver the second major version of its cloud-based PC management service, Windows Intune 2, on October 17. The company previous said this release would happen by the end of 2011; the initial version of Intune shipped in early 2011. (My review of that first version of Intune is still available, of course.)

"Today we are excited to share with you that our next release of Windows Intune, which includes the new features and updates of the July 2011 beta, will be available on October 17 of this year!," Microsoft's Alex Heaton writes.

Some of the new features in Intune 2 include:

Software Distribution. Now, administrators can deploy most Microsoft and third-party software and updates to PCs nearly anywhere on the Internet. That's right: They do not need to be on a local network.

Remote Tasks. You can remotely perform the following tasks on PCs that are managed by Intune 2: Full scan, Quick scan, Update Malware Definition, and Restart.

Read-Only Access. For management delegation, certain users can be granted read-only access to the administration console so they can review PC configuration information but not make any changes.

Enhanced Reporting. You can now create hardware reports based on new filters for common hardware characteristics. And you can create and save report parameters so you can re-run useful reports in the future.

Current Intune subscribers will automatically be updated to the new version in late 2011, and they will receive a notification two weeks before the upgrade. (This happens automatically and at no additional cost; the beauty of cloud services.) New customers who sign up on October 17 or later will automatically get the new version, of course. (Those using the beta will need to restore their PCs to pre-beta software prior to October 17 as the beta program is ending that day as well.)

I've been evaluating Windows Intune 2 and will review the final version when it ships in October.