Windows tablets: About to gain enterprise traction?

Windows tablets: About to gain enterprise traction?

Summary: Enterprises are eyeing Windows 8 deployments for tablets and could boost Microsoft's mobility ambitions. Windows Phone still struggles though.


There are a few incremental signs that Windows tablets are getting traction in the enterprise and giving the software giant some mobility momentum.

Christy Wyatt, CEO of Good Technology, a company that manages mobile devices securely, said the last month or so has indicated that enterprises are warming up to Windows 8 and 8.1 tablets in their deployment plans.

Windows RT and Windows Phone devices remain no shows.

Good polls its enterprise customers often on what they plan to deploy. "We've seen a turn in the last month or two," said Wyatt. Good will publishes its mobility index quarterly. The next report probably won't show many gains for Microsoft's Windows 8 on the mobile front, but there's some momentum building, said Wyatt.

More: Microsoft's Ballmer: We'll get to one Windows, multiple screens | Microsoft ramping up to push Surface broadly through resellers

What's unclear is whether Windows can gain significant share on the enterprise mobility front. Android, which has been helped by Samsung's Knox and enterprise security efforts, is gaining share in the enterprise, but Apple's iOS still rules.

In a presentation at the Gartner Symposium and ITXpo, analyst Michael Silver noted that Microsoft's dominance is weakening courtesy of the mobile movement. However, Silver also said that CIOs should consider implementing Windows 8.1 for touch-based hardware starting in late 2014.

According to Silver, the user experience, hardware improvements, mobile device management support and remote business data removal make Windows 8.1 a good option for corporations.

microsoft irrelevant slide

If CIOs follow Silver's advice, Windows should get tablet traction in the enterprise at the very least. Silver also said companies should proceed with caution on rolling out Microsoft Surface devices in bulk.

The most inexplicable item in Microsoft's enterprise mobility strategy is that Office isn't touch first. In a keynote talk on Tuesday, Microsoft's outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer reiterated that the company was working on a touch-first version of Office 2013 for Windows devices first and then the iPad.

That reference to a touch-friendly Office wasn't new, but it's clear Microsoft's enterprise traction in tablets would be much farther along via consumerization if it's killer app — Office — was already tablet friendly.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets, Windows 8 in Business

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  • Non Windows devices are pointless in an enterprise environment

    iOS doesn't even have a file browser ...
    Android ... what flavor exactly : Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC. SW updates : only on the best selling devices.

    iOS and Android have been devised with CONSUMER demands in mind and that's where they stuck now.

    In the foreseeable future there is no way around Windows for the majority of applications. A few niches might resort to iOS for some very special purposes. Android due to being torn into to so many different versions is absolutely unusable for any sensible business task at all.
    • Your reasoning is hard to understand

      Windows on mobile is something tinny, there are probably single android devices that are bigger than all equivalente windows mobile devices - I'm not even talking android version, I'm saying single devices.
      If it's a problem to develop for 3 or 4 android version, why not do it just for 2?! It would be bigger than all iOS and all windows for mobile together. Having said that, the reality is that there are many apps for android, and many of them work jut fine with the majority of devices. The same can't be said about windows "new generation" apps that still lag behind competition - they can't even make a proper youtube app - it's just a link for the browser now.

      Yes it's true that many specific apps will take time to reach tablets and smartphones, but it will happen with time, it's inevitable. And if I was a company investing in the development of software for mobile now, I would opt for a windows flavor in just a very small percentage of cases. In the future the current balance can change, but as it is now, android and iOS dominate the mobile landscape.

      Even if Windows on traditional desktops and in many other ways, is still dominant and the way to go. We live in times where thinking of non windows solutions makes more sense than ever. And even MS realized that they no longer can impose their platform, at each day the idea of more MS software for other platforms is a stronger possibility.
      • @ AleMartin - EnticingHavoc's statements are partially correct!

        What is there to refute in Havoc's statements?

        The reality is only Acer, Asus and other white-box PC vendors are really losing PC marketshare. Lenovo, HP, Samsung, Dell and Toshiba have actually stablilized or grown marketshare over the past year.

        The article does not go into the reasons for Windows PC loss of dominance in Asia. And there is a single hidden but known reason for this: it is called piracy.

        The new Windows 8 versions are harder to pirate since CD copies are not easily available (except for System Builder licenses) at retail stores. Which makes it not so easy for the corner PC repair store in Beijing or Penang or Jakarta to replicate Windows 8 and make boot-legged copies of it to sell to local home PC users, schools, universities, government offices and elsewhere (basically everywhere).

        The fact remains that Windows OS and Office were some of the most pirated software ever. And I mean historically ever.

        What Windows 8 did was to give Microsoft a chance to close that lost revenue stream. It was a revenue stream they were never going to realize on their accounting books. So what is the point of supporting it?

        Ultimately piracy is bad for everyone in the industry. May be Windows XP will live on in China till 2025. But America's enterprises and European industries will move away from Windows XP to Windows 7 initially and finally to the Windows Cloud aided by Windows 8 client devices - tablets, convertibles and phones. There is no need to use Windows XP style PCs and PC software after this transition starts in the near future.

        And if such a transition is what Microsoft intends for its business (SMB/Enterprise/Government/Defence) customers, then what is the point of it maintaining Windows XP application software compatibility beyond a certain date - say - 2020?

        Android and ChromeOS are rightfully placed to replace pirated Windows in Asia and Africa. But that does not mean their software quality will be superior to Windows 2000 or Windows XP SP1. In fact, Android or ChromeOS already suck as much as or even worse than Windows 2000 at handling internet worms, malware and viruses. Android is bug ridden and there is nothing Google can do to fix its security woes. The simple reason being its widespread marketshare around the world. Which means previous releases cannot all be updated and distributed with software fixes in time as newer security issues keep arising.

        So the graph showing only 25% of Windows device or iOS device usage by 2020 is actually good news for closed and well maintained platforms unlike Android or ChromeOS.
        • There is a place for traditional pc's

          No doubt there. I even expect the pc market to grow a bit, the decrease market is a surprise for me, giving that there are a lot more potential buyers in emerging countries.

          But do people believe the mobile wave will stop outside enterprises? I don't. It will take years, it will have a much slower adoption relatively to what is happening in the consumer marketplace - it's how it is, enterprises have more inertia.

          There is no objective article proving that android is insecure, and it seems at least much more secure than windows - don't even see why bring that argument to this discussion.

          What's wrong with first post it's simple, the reasons presented for windows being the only way to go for enterprises are just wrong - and I would be ok with windows being in fact the only way, but not with the reasons presented.
          Android will soon be bigger with just one version or two, than everything else combined - how in that scenario, fragmentation makes it worse than windows RT, windows phone or even windows - and there are fragmentation issues between XP, 7 and 8 - installing 8 in a XP era machine can be very tricky per ex.

          As for the iOS lack of file explorer, it doesn't deserve my comment. Tech people is never tired of pointing programming and other abstract entities for 80% of mortals.

          I will say this again - enterprises don't just create documents with office - in those tasks, windows and traditional pc's are probably the best.
          Enterprises do a lot of different computing tasks, and smartphones and tablets are the best for many of those, also they will find a way into new uses.
          As mobile devices become a natural presence within business, it's natural that the leading platforms win the biggest share.

          If someone wants to tell me that mobile devices don't have place in enterprises, well I respect that opinion - future will tell who's right.
          • AleMartin, I don't understand you? What does new OS on old hardware.......

            have to do with fragmentation?? Win8 on an old XP era machine is tricky, is your example of Windows fragmentation. Well only in the sense there are XP and Win8 machines in existence maybe, but there is not real "fragmentation" between those platforms of the like the OP was discussing about Android.
            And with Google keeping Android locked down with the Apache licensing, it might as well be closed source anyway. Nobody can fork it and retain access to any of Mighty Google's code and interfaces (which are obvioius not open and free like many try to say.
            People claiming Android a victory for Linux are delusional. It's the opposite, it's a blow to linux and open source due to Google's massive monopoly control over it and using it's size to push all other companies around.
            They have had their dirty laundry exposed due to the Skyhook trial and we'll just get more and more showing how much Google are just thugs and more controlling and bad for competition than MS ever was. They are doing that already.
            Funny how when it was a PC market the Linux crowd cried foul and wanted the market to have competition, but now that the thing called Android (they still mistakenly think is open source) is becoming a huge monopoly monster they are cheering for it, forsaking any competition. Again, the Linux crowd has proven to me (at least the portion of it that comes here) they are full of duplicity. That's it.
            Hopefully all that is good in the world will come to know this and reject Google's outright bullying and market control by force and threats. Again, revealed in the Skyhook trial. Read the emails Goo was forced to release and you'll see a company that makes MSFT look like Cub scouts.
          • Google keeping Android "locked down with Apache licensing"

            That made me laugh! Thx.

            Yes, that unbreakable lock of the oh so restrictive Apache license is why Amazon was able to use Android as the basis for the Kindle Fire -- and sell so many more tablets than MS. Or why so many greybox vendors have, collectively, sold so many more tablets than MS. Not to mention Android's use on plenty of other device form factors, mini-PCs, TVs, etc.
          • Android, which Google purchased is not open to the community.

            Google does not release it until it feels it's ready and then only to "certified" OEMs.

            Honeycomb was totally restricted to only partners Google elects and specific developers.

            I love teh comments on those blogs too, the Linux zealots make excuses like a mac user would. Just too funny. They are using partners no differently than Microsoft did but now it's "cool" and the way of the future?
            Please. It's actually very unclear and it was Google themselves that said they held the club of compatibility over the heads of the OEMS.
            How else, please tell me, could Google force Samsung to ditch a shipment that was ready to go, but setup to use Skyhook, because Google didn't want Skyhook to be used any longer. They felt it was "poisoning" their location database.
            Why woudl Samsung care if they are big boys and Android is totally open to them with no strings attached? Why would they immediately pull the shipment, salute Google with a big "Yes Sir"?
          • Samsung no fool

            Samsung most flexible. They makes windows phone too but won't make RT tablet because of Galaxy Note. If android finally died of AIDS, they will shift easily to WP8
          • You sure of that?

            Very good in comparing monochrome 6" tablet to a full 10.6 tablets with new technology
          • I could explain but you can get there alone

            Open your mind :-)

            Not sure why you mentioned linux or how close or open android is, I think it's off topic - not agreeing or disagreeing.
        • About piracy

          All versions of Windows were easily cracked, the same with Windows 8.
          While piracy represents some lost revenue, please don't be like the record industry that tries to convert each illegal copy with a lost sale - reality its not even close.
          I would never pay $100 for office in a casual use home environment when there are free alternatives, like me, probably most of the pirates out there. And let's be clear - it would be stupid to pay for windows or office and many other "expensive" software for "amateur" use, even more stupid with families with modest income.
        • About the PC market

          Reality is that is going down globally, companies doing better than others don't make things look any better - except for those companies with growth.
          While Lenovo, HP, and some others are even improving, just look at Acer and Asus - they are going down and must react or eventually die.
          While some PC makers can just fade way without big waves, I don't see that as positive for MS. Less competition, higher prices. Asus and Acer can push for alternatives like linux, chromebooks, android, ... they will probably fail, but we never know, I've heard the year of linux is coming :-)

          If MS wants to keep the same relevance they need to conquer mobile market share - there is no other way, at least until something new and amazing comes along.
          • ASUS & ACER been stupid

            Like HTC, ASUS and ACER think they can make money selling Android tablets! Profit too marginal due to Chinese company selling it cheaper. They should make Win8 RT sub $200 tablets
        • Re: Windows 8 versions are harder to pirate since CD copies are not easily

          In mean time, the world has moved away from CDs.

          Those "pirates" would just use the ISO file, or at most write it to an USB stick. Hope, you will not be arguing that downloading an ISO file is harder than obtaining a CD.

          Truth is, people are not replacing "pirated Windows" with something else. Those who go to the trouble to "pirate" Windows, instead of using an freely and readily available OS apparently need Windows for some reason. Now, need and want -- are two different things -- and this explains why they don't "buy" it, but instead "pirate" it.

          The trouble for Microsoft has never been "pirated Windows". In fact, years ago they did encourage people to pirate Windows, because this was how it could become so widespread. If not for "piracy", Windows would have been unknown in large parts of the world and Microsoft could not afford that.

          The real trouble for Microsoft are those who came to learn that they do not in fact need Windows on their computer, for the computer to be useful. Those people will never, ever "pirate" Windows. These people actively move to other platforms, for various reasons -- none of which related to "pirated Windows".
          • Danbi, thanks for a combination of being wrong and obvious.....

            As for being wrong, people don't pirate windows because they need it for something specific, but because Linux was never a usable alternative, hence why it's still almost non existent on the desktop. You might want to dip your toe into reality instead of only what swims in your own head. I know it's hard for you to swallow, but people wanted windows and many still do.

            As for your statement about there being some that don't use windows and choose to use something else......DUH!!? Really, you are a prophet!!
            You know I always wondered why some people by Chevys and some Fords. You solved it with your super brain. :)
      • Too bad due to the fact the Goo monster has nothing but money and leverage.

        MS used public interface but that is not what Goo Allows in their licensing? They have that interface locked up under closed source. You can't buy it.
        Android is owned by Google, it's not open source, the gold code is closed source so that Google can control the OEMS. How else do you think they can push around Samsung and force them to use location database technology of Goo's choice for example?
        The suit against Goo from Skyhook is still on and shows what Google is really about. Anti-competitive Bullies on a scale far beyond what MSFT ever was or did. MS was not out stealing wireless data for instance.
        The Skyhook case alone shows their monopoly power and bullying:

        And then this is the kind of thing you just can't make up:

        Microsoft gave value to the Enterprise for 25 years and still does and still will. Google is well below the standing of Azure on any ranking you'll find. Already talked about Office 365 which is already becoming the new Office and will have similar market share.

        Even blows away gmail and hotmail still has the most users worldwide over gmail. gmail has more U.S. users but worldwide it's still hotmail. If MSFT uses that wisely they still have plenty of time to lock up the internet space.
        Most companies are no where near ready for the cloud and for those people Windows still does just fine for years to come. MSFT actually is in a better position since they can take smaller to medium sized (and many large companies not going for the "cloud" yet, if ever) from on premises to the clound and anywhere in between. Google cannot.
        Apple is dismissed from enterprise conversation. They are consumer electronics consumption only.
      • you never answer the question

        You spend too much time praising Android. I wonder which insane executive that will adopt malware heaven for business?
  • My employer has moved to WP8 Lumia devices to replace BB

    The ease of integration with our Exchange Server Outlook email, and our adoption of Lync as an IM platform are, no doubt, factors in that decision.

    We can't be the only corporation which see the benefits. There certainly may be other BB shops where a decision is being made on replacement devices and operating systems. Microsoft still has the enterprise edge here, I believe, with IT departments who want products that are easy to administer and integrate with existing enterprise systems.
  • W8 is aleady rolled out in many schools

    Its just a matter of time before W8 is everywhere.
    My boss recently received W8 and WP8 devices for us and most of us were really happy to have brand new devices. (some are just never happy)
    Throw All The Things
    • In beverly hills?

      My kids school is getting Chromebooks because they are inexpensive and easily secured. I would never recommend windows 8 for educational purposes.