It seems that at most every conference I attend and in a lot of the articles I read, the same message gets conveyed: Windows 8 is too late to the tablet game.
iPad’s got the sales juice-design, intuitive interface, head start, whatever. And if you don’t want an iPad for some pathological reason, there’s always Android.
Add to that, the BYOD tsunami, and Microsoft is cooked, techno pundits say.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a Mac guy since Quadra. I love their products and I got me an iPad2. It’s great.
But that doesn’t mean Windows 8 isn’t going to be a major player in the tablet wars by this time next year. Here’s why.
For starters, major organizations have billions and billions of dollars tied up in Windows legacy systems. Any enterprise company contemplating a major tablet buy will—for corporate profits reasons if nothing else—necessarily take into account a tablet program that uses Windows 8. They’ll have to. It’s more than likely systems integration will be easier and cheaper.
Then, there’s a little issue called security. That’s where BYOD will bite itself on the ass. It gets a little sticky here—IT departments are already being halved as an increasing number of mobile workers are becoming responsible for the care and feeding of their own mobile technology.
On the flip side, however, is iCloud. Or any cloud-based system, for that matter. All that company data stored and accessible totally out of the control of corporate IT hands cannot and will not exist indefinitely.
And it’s not just about enterprise security. Consider the absolute freak out if local, state or the federal governments even tastes the possibility of compromised files. Rules and regs will come to this arena at some point. If a Windows 8 tablet can avoid these issues, it’s an enterprise game changer—both in terms of security and a more secure IT department. Which is not to say tablets haven’t changed the IT department’s authority irrevocably.
In addition, Microsoft’s decision to offer its corporate customers an exclusive called “Windows to Go” might be the tipping point in the battle for market share.
Available to companies that sign an ongoing software deal with the Redmond, Washington firm, “Windows to Go” might effectively counter the freedoms enjoyed by BYODers.
The feature lets IT burn an image on an enterprise PC to a thumb drive that can be used on other PCs that run on Windows 7 or Windows 8. Microsoft believes it will be a safe, secure alternative for mobile workers to use corporate resources.
Add to that the fact that, because it’s IT-controlled, there’s a good chance it’ll have less malware.
The costs haven’t been finalized and it’s safe to bet there will be some kind of price war among major players in the battle for tablet supremacy.
But when you take a good look at the arrows in Microsoft 8’s quiver, only a fool would ignore its chances for becoming a viable player in the enterprise tablet market.