I was reading an article on CIO.com today about Apple in the Enterprise: Breaking Microsoft's Grip and found that while it was interesting, it sort of really missed the point. One would assume from the headline that Apple is driving into the enterprise and pushing out Microsoft at the level of core apps or operating systems. Well, not exactlyÂ…
The article is misleading in that the reality is that Apple (and Android) are actually EXPANDING the overall technology spend and enhancing productivity through new products that were poorly penetrated or did not exist. They are talking about iPads and iPhones (and I will include Android phones and pads into that) which are seeing hugely increased penetration into the enterprise. Well, tablets are new to the market, and are NOT replacing primary computing sources, but are creating incremental spend for incremental productivity. Smart phones are much the same, though clearly they are pounding away at the Blackberry market share.
Now one could certainly see these products as beachheads into the enterprise and assume that Apple will expand outward and start pushing out core computing assets that are traditionally Microsoft based from an OS and application standpointÂ… but I don't know that this can be assumed. I believe that new devices are adding value to enterprise users creating new spend and frankly, simply enhancing the overall productivity of the enterprise user, not devaluing the core Microsoft application in any way, in fact, I find email even more valuable when I can access it in many ways, and accessing it on my phone and iPad do not threaten the lock Microsoft Exchange has on email in any way as I see it. In fact, we all seek apps for our devices that best emulate Outlook, so our email can behave the way we expectÂ… the way Microsoft has trained us that email should look and behave.
It is a fundamental truth that IT environments are becoming mixed, and more complex. The other side of that coin is that IT environments are becoming more user oriented, more focused on providing multiple methods of access via multiple devices for our email, files, and applications. This trend will only escalate, and I'd not worry too much about MicrosoftÂ… I think they will be just fine, and if they recognize that THEY have developed the user experience we all expect and benchmark by (like Microsoft or hate them, their enterprise apps are the de facto standard) then they should be able to continue to own the critical back end systems and PC user experience, especially if they embrace the reality of the multiple different ecosystems (some that are competitive) that in fact benefit from and perhaps even rely on their products, and feed off of their user base.I think that we will see more integration in years to come, not less, and more diversity of technologies all sharing the same base of applications and data. I don't think that the cloud will be the primary source for most of this, but our good old servers running our core applications will, all accessed in a tightly integrated fashion by Apple, and Android devices.When you put it all together, you definitely have more ways to experience.