Wintabs Suggest Marginalization for Android, and possibly iOS, as an Enterprise Mobile OS
We’ve just published a Strategic Perspective for our premium subscribers that raises a very fun and important question: Assuming that Windows 8, especially the RT version, does not completely fail, whose butt will Microsoft kick with Win8 and tablets?
The butt-kicking is not certain, of course, as there’s still plenty of time for Microsoft, its device partners, its developer chain, and others to mess things up. There’s also plenty of time for Google to standardize a single commercial version of Android across all its partners.
But frankly, neither is likely to happen on a scale large enough to stop Microsoft from making tablet computing its own enterprise IT domain. The Microsoft power base is too big, and there are too many Android tablet makers busily building Wintabs, for this to face-plant completely. It could happen, but if I were employed by a different analysis firm, I’d give that a probability of P = doubtful.
The Perspective lays out the reasons why we believe what we believe, but let’s boil it down for this blog post: Microsoft-sanctioned and -supported tablets make tablets as a phenomenon safe for enterprise IT to buy, use, and develop for. Microsoft and Windows fit and enable the Three Cs of enterprise IT: Continuity, Compatibility, and Comfort.
Given that there is diminishing distinguishability between tablets and the smartphone experience, it’s natural and easy to see a revised and revitalized enterprise Microsoft presence building out into other aspects of mobility as well.
So, whose butt will it be? Our money is against Android, since all the Android tablet makers are swinging production to Win8/WinRT. They will continue to make Android devices, but the odds are stacked in favor of Windows given its existing worldwide enterprise presence.
We also would place a side bet of Apple being marginalized in the enterprise, possibly to the extent it was in the 1990s. It’s not that Apple couldn’t kick Microsoft’s butt – it has in many ways already (see: “design,” Zune, GUI, etc). But the Three Cs, and a building PC refresh need, make it easier and cheaper for enterprise IT to go Wintab, and from there to Win8 smartphone standardization.
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