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Mobile apps are typically submitted to the online store and widely available to all users. However, enterprise may prefer to deploy their line-of-business apps only for their own organization use, thus store submission is not an ideal option. With enterprise deployment, users can install the company’s mobile apps by downloading and installing them from their own web server – or through other channels which are supported differently in each platform. For instance, Android allows enterprise to deploy their apps by sending emails to the users.

All the supported mobile platforms – iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows Store Apps – allow enterprise deployment through various methods according to the platform deployment guidance. The following links provide references for enterprise deployment in each platform.

iOS Deployment

Apple allows iOS enterprise apps to be deployed through a number of ways. For small number of users, the easiest way is to send the iOS app package (.IPA) file to the user and let them sync the apps to their own devices via iTunes. For more information about the provisioning and package generation methods in Xamarin Studio, see IPA Support for Enterprise Deployment. In addition, Apple also allows wireless apps distribution without the needs to use iTunes. For more information about wireless deployment requirements and processes, see Distributing Enterprise Apps for iOS Devices.

Android Deployment

Android supports ad-hoc and enterprise deployment through web server and email. The most recommended way for enterprise deployment is by placing your apps in your own web server. This allows users to easily download and install the apps in their device. For more information, refer to Android Deployment Overview.

Windows Phone and Windows Store Deployment

Enterprise deployments in Windows mobile platforms such as Windows Phone and Windows Store Apps are relatively more difficult and require more administration processes compared to iOS and Android. In general, Microsoft doesn’t provide ad-hoc deployment method such as uploading apps in your own web server.

Windows Phone introduces company app distribution that involves developing company hub and requires users to enroll their phones for company app distribution. For more information, see Company App Distribution for Windows Phone.

For Windows Store Apps, Microsoft supports enterprise deployment through a mechanism called sideloading. In general, the enterprise deployment supports only Windows 2012 and Windows 8 Enterprise. This means that the PC should use at least Windows 8 Enterprise edition which is domain joined to a Windows 2012 server. In addition, it involves group policy and registry keys modification. For more information, see Deploying Enterprise Apps.

Deploying enterprise apps in Windows platform are more complex and remarkably complicated. If you wish to deploy only to a small number of users, you may opt to submit your apps to the Windows Store and choose the “Hide from users browsing or searching the Store”, then send the direct link to users to obtain and install the app.