Microsoft Could Lose More Than Consumer Market To Tablets - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Applications
04:40 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall

Microsoft Could Lose More Than Consumer Market To Tablets

Businesses are starting to ditch Windows PCs and notebooks in favor of mobile devices from Apple and others, triggering little response from Redmond.

The iPad and other tablets are taking a big bite out of consumer sales of Windows PCs, but Microsoft's dominance of enterprise computing is safe from slates, right? Wrong.

New research shows that, contrary to what many pundits first believed, tablets are making significant inroads in the business market as companies look to give employees more technology choice and flexibility. That Microsoft won't have a true slate OS for at least a year could create even more space for Apple, Google, Research In Motion, and others to get their tablets on workers' desks.

In a report issued this week, tech advisory firm Gartner said it thinks tablets are headed to the enterprise in a big way.

"CIOs are determined not to make the same mistakes they made with smartphones, which were written off early as expensive toys, or executive status symbols—which then left room for more inventive leaders who saw the competitive advantage that mobile applications would bring," said David Willis, a research VP at Gartner, in a bulletin.

Willis sees a trend, one that should favor Apple and Google, that puts the lie to the myth that Microsoft doesn't need hits in the consumer market to protect its enterprise franchises.

CIOs "are more willing to see that they don't need to supply and manage every device that employees use at work," Willis said. "Consumerization is here to stay, and moving very fast. If you can think of an application for tablets, your competition may well be thinking in the same way—and acting on it. It is time to explore the use of media tablets in business."

The key takeaway for Steve Ballmer and company should be Willis' belief that consumerization "is moving very fast." That means that, by the time Microsoft gets around to shipping the supposedly tablet-friendly Windows 8 next year, many IT shops will have already begun the process of testing and developing applications for other platforms, including RIM's new PlayBook.

And it's not just the corporate market Microsoft stands to lose. Government agencies have also caught tablet fever and are now rolling out slate-compatible apps and content for employees and clients. For example, the U.S. Agency for International Development earlier this year ported presentations for the U.S. embassy in Brazil to the iPad.

And USAID chief Rajiv Shah isn't lugging around a laptop to most meetings, either. "The administrator and his staff are pretty much just using the iPad for all briefing binders and all materials," said Alen Kirkorian, a USAID principal information technology security specialist, on the agency's official blog.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll