No other company has been hurt more by the rise of new devices in the enterprise than Microsoft.
The iPad is a particular threat, as it could replace a significant number of Windows PC sales, and could loosen the company’s hold on other enterprise business software.
So, what do Microsoft’s mobile in the enterprise efforts look like?
- Microsoft has been rightly criticised for missing the mobile revolution: The company saw the opportunity early on — it was working on mobile and embedded operating systems in the 1990s, and has been selling smartphones (running Windows Mobile) and tablets (starting with Windows XP Tablet Edition) since 2002. Despite this early lead, Microsoft watched as first Apple, then Google and its Android partners, redefined the smartphone market.
- Windows 8 Is A BYOD Play: Windows 8, which will ship this October, is a two-in-one operating system. It features a new interface called Metro that is designed to be used with fingers. It also includes a traditional desktop, which is meant for legacy applications and functions that are better used with a keyboard and mouse. With this strategy, Microsoft is hoping to capture a very specific market: business users who want a tablet for casual personal use, but don’t want to carry a separate laptop to work.
- What about smartphones? The next version of Windows Phone will be based on the same underlying technology as Windows 8 and Windows RT. This was Microsoft’s best choice: Windows Phone 7 never got enough traction among developers to get the apps it needed to take on iOS and Android, particularly so-called “long tail” apps.
- Microsoft has huge strengths in the enterprise that will help mobile efforts: Many clients are locked into including long-term licensing agreements for products like Office and Exchange. It’s revamping its core business apps for the cloud with Office 365. And it’s got a renewed focus on touch screens with Windows 8 Metro. So despite its complete lack of progress in smartphones so far, Microsoft is still in a great position when it comes to mobile in the enterprise.
In full, the report looks at:
- Which mobile platforms are displacing the old Windows monopoly in the enterprise.
- How corporate app developers are responding to the change.
- How this disruption is threatening the former leader in enterprise computing, Microsoft, and what Microsoft is doing to respond.