Windows IT managers: The iPad's next growth market

Windows IT managers: The iPad's next growth market

Summary: How much more every day must Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hate the Apple iPad? Certainly, a bit more when an SQL Server and .Net system administration tools company points to the iPad as the next-best thing for IT managers.

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How much more every day must Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hate the Apple iPad? Certainly, a bit more when an SQL Server and .Net system administration tools company points to the iPad as the next-best thing for IT managers.

In a recent post on the Business of Software blog,  Red Gate Software CEO Neil Davidson talked up the company's SQL Response v2 SQL Server monitoring and alerting tool. The tool presents users with real-time performance and diagnostic data, history and alerts, Red Gate says.

Oh, and you’d be able to monitor your SQL Servers from your mobile phone.

Like anybody would want to do that. What a dumb idea, monitoring your servers from your Blackberry.

And then, six months ago, Apple launched the iPad. Monitoring servers from a mobile device suddenly doesn’t seem so dumb. But we didn’t realize that until Tech Ed a couple of weeks ago when Ben and Gareth showed SQL Response 2 running on an iPad to a bunch of DBAs:

They loved it.

Of course, they did. Who wouldn't? BTW, the post's title is How to persuade your boss to buy you an iPad. At the bottom of the post is a sample letter for IT managers to lobby their bosses for an iPad.

This situation can't have been on the radar at Redmond.

The problem for Microsoft is that it has not only lost one development cycle, it's lost two. Apple is out in the market with a mobile solution that is being chosen by many market segments. Developers and users can leverage iPhone solutions as well as count upon those apps to migrate to the tablet platform.

During a session at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Ballmer admitted that Microsoft had missed a cycle with mobile telephony, but he saw no problems with the iPad, other than "the race is on."

Ballmer: Sure. You’re going to have a range of devices over time that are light and don’t have a keyboard and will run Windows. Depending on what you want, there will be devices that offer a similar experience to Windows. There will be others that will be more customized, more optimized. This will be a real competitive form factor of innovation. We will, with our partners, drive innovation in form factor. Windows Phone, for example. Apple has chosen to do this as well.

8:55 am: Still more from Ballmer–Some people will want to have two different devices for two different purposes. But there has to be an option for an integrated device. The bulk of the market is going to stay with general-purpose devices.

It appears to me that this strategy runs into the wall of history. The trend in consumer (and business) segments for technology has been for a marketplace of many different devices, each of which offering targeted values for mobility, functionality and performance and cost.

For example, I have a radio in my kitchen, bathroom, and living room and one that fits in my pocket. "Radio" broadcasts also are streamed into my computer and television.

Of course, we will have general-purpose devices. But users will purchase a a variety of mobile devices and embedded computers as well as a machine that offers the current desktop or notebook capabilities. As we can see now, this is happening even in the IT management space.

Ballmer appears to be resisting the very basic principals of multiple form factors. Perhaps I was wrong: Redmond isn't two cycles out, more like three.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Tablets, Software, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Laptops, iPad, Hardware, Data Management, Data Centers, Windows

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7 comments
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  • Hope someone develops this for Android phones

    Then MS would totally be out in the cold, as the IT community would (for the foreseeable future) be wholly locked on either Apple or Google technologies in smart phones/tablets. This would really put MS on its heels in this vertical.
    Spats30
  • Oh, I understand.

    If Apple can't dominate keyboards, then pooh-pooh keyboards.
    Lester Young
    • RE: Windows IT managers: The iPad's next growth market

      @Lester Young: No... but think about this for a moment:

      Mobile devices need to do two things:

      1) maximize the UI in a tiny form factor
      2) still be portable and usable.

      A keyboard is anathema to that. You either end up with a tiny screen and birth-control-pill sized keypads (see also the Blackberry Curve), or you end up with some folding/sliding thing that is about as graceful and easy to use as a 7" long swiss army knife, but is far more fragile.

      Ever try to open a mail attachment or document on a Blackberry curve? I have to daily, and the suckage is rather pronounced. Ever have to use a slider/folder keyboard? Hope you don't drop the thing or squeeze it too tightly...

      Ditching the 'keyboard' on a mobile device actually makes sense, and I recall world+dog in 2000-2001 seeking a pure touchscreen solution as if it were the Holy Grail.

      Just the way it is.
      Random_Walk
  • Not really a HUGE market

    A niche market, but one that can be just as fickle as any functional box-buying segment. It isn't the OS or brand, just the functionality provided.

    Apple has the finger plate market at the moment, but just like in phones, it is still wide open at every moment into the future.
    Patanjali
  • RE: Windows IT managers: The iPad's next growth market

    Don't know 'bout phones. iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million in 3 days! Go Apple!
    The Danger is Microsoft
  • RE: Windows IT managers: The iPad's next growth market

    I will still wait and see what Apple do with Gen2 of the iPad.

    With all of the OS4 email problems on 3GS iphones though it is not doing Apple's reputation
    jason.wienert
  • RE: Windows IT managers: The iPad's next growth market

    how true is 'if ipad can kill microsoft if it_(ipad) can run SQL'?
    glandy