No one needs to tell you that tablets, with an estimated 117 million to be sold in 2012, have become the most popular device in the history of the computing industry. However, it appears that this may be just a blip in what will occur in the future as sales are expected to continue their growth spurt in 2013. These sales should also help boost declining sales for dependent e-book giants Barnes & Noble and Amazon. For these and other tablet software manufacturers, 2013 is being predicted as the year that the enterprise embraces the tablet computer.
However, to date, the tablet has been viewed as a consumer toy — one that the user can easily maneuver while traveling or sitting in front of the TV. Now, however, we await Microsoft’s introduction of its latest iteration of Windows, which many believe will be specifically targeted for use on a tablet computing system. Could this mean that Microsoft has engineered a tablet OS specifically targeting the enterprise market? Did Microsoft design Windows 8 to keep its enterprise customers from jumping ship to Apple or another competitor? If so, why is the enterprise market considered a more coveted prize than the consumer market?
The answer is fairly simple and is something that most computer geeks already understand. The big money is made in supplying the hardware, software, and expertise (in its many facets), needed for any 21st century business to function efficiently. More important, the money machine revolves around the licensing and agreements that Microsoft has incorporated since its early days of software development. With these licenses in hand, businesses have extensively come to rely on Microsoft as the go-to company for its have-to-have products such as the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office.
With this being said, one could easily make the assumption that many enterprise customers will follow wherever Microsoft leads them, because they feel comfortable in using Microsoft products. This confidence regarding these products ranges downhill to a business’ employees and IT departments that understand the software and know its limitations and advantages. However, while this sounds great, there are some issues that enterprises will encounter when they upgrade to Windows 8 or buy new tablets with RT pre-installed.
First, many enterprises have legacy applications that may not function properly on the new Windows operating system. In addition, Windows RT is not designed to run full-featured software, such as Microsoft Office, which could also pose a problem for adaptation by some companies. However, these issues are generally addressed and can be corrected through revisions or upgrades that are usually offered over the course of a few months after a new software is released. This being said, Microsoft is extremely hopeful that any issues regarding its new operating system can be quickly resolved and that Windows 8 will take the enterprise by storm.
However, even with all the hype, I am not sure if fragmenting the operating system between a full-blown Windows 8 version and a slimmed version of Windows 8 known at RT is going to be received with open arms. One major reason for my cynicism is that I don’t know how many companies that have upgraded to Windows 7 may be reluctant to upgrade again. In addition, there is always the possibility that enterprises could accept the BYOD (bring your own device) approach. This approach would allow employees to bring their own personal devices to the work environment, which would mean that the company has the potential to save itself the cost associated with buying new hardware and software.
So now you’ve gotten my take on tablets and the assumption, by Microsoft, that its new Windows 8 software will be the answer to the tablet crossover between consumer and business use. What do you think? Will the enterprise readily switch over to Windows 8 or Windows RT, or is it going to take a wait and see approach?
Share your thoughts with us.
Source: IDC Press Release
Source: Connected World
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by bigdigo