Clearly, Microsoft is going all out for consumer attention. How else is Windows 8 supposed to get into the enterprise?
No matter how Steve Ballmer tries to spin it, there is no pent-up need for wide Windows 8 deployments at businesses — Windows 7 took care of that. Microsoft is hoping to enter the enterprise through another door, the BYOD (bring your own device) door. Will employees buy Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, whether the Surface or a partner device, and demand to use them at work?
We don’t know yet. Information on Windows 8 sales has been, um, ambiguous at best.
But seriously, as BYOD machines, Windows 8 (full version running Intel processors) and Windows RT (Windows 8 cousin running on ARM-based processors) tablets have noteworthy advantages such as the full Microsoft Office suite (a watered-down version on Windows RT devices), not to mention Windows 8’s bigger tablet sizes and more controlled security features and compatibility with legacy apps. These are features that could conquer some of the previous tablet limitations of the iPad and Android tablets.
Yet even though the availability of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets gives consumers choice, it’s also a source for confusion because the two are visually indistinguishable yet Windows RT is incompatible with legacy Windows apps such as Photoshop, Quicken and even Outlook. That may not be obvious to consumers who want to use Windows RT for BYOD.
In addition, Windows 8 is resource-heavy and can’t match the battery life of an iPad and the Windows App Store is anemic (10,000 apps in the Windows 8 App Store, and 4,000 available for Windows RT) compared to the 275,000 apps in the Apple App Store.
“The Windows App Store will temper consumer and BYOD demand for Windows tablets until the Microsoft developer ecosystem can catch up,” writes Forrester analyst David Johnson in a recent blog post on Windows 8 enterprise adoption.
With all that said, what say you? If you buy a Windows 8 or Surface RT tablet, would you expect your IT department to support it as a work device?