Microsoft's longtime dominance in the enterprise faces a significant challenge in Apple and the rise of mobility devices.
Microsofts presence in the enterprise will erode in coming
years as workers gravitate increasingly toward tablets and smartphones tethered
to the cloud, according to an analyst report from Forrester Research. Apple will prove the main beneficiary
of the trend, as its mobile products gain increased traction within businesses
large and small.
Microsoft is still a dominant presence in personal
technology for work with Windows for PCs and the Office productivity suite,
Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester,
wrote in a co-authored research report. But our data shows that Apple is
already present with 41 [percent] of executives. Moreover, the firm estimates
that, globally, one in five information workers relies on an Apple product for some
part of their workflow.
What does that mean? Coupled with Microsofts absence on
mobile devices, this signals that Windows dominance is at an end.
How so? In a fragmented market for mobile devices,
customers and partners will look to anoint a solid No. 2 alternative for a full
range of personal technologyand theyll choose Apple because of its strength
with individuals across smartphones, tablets, and Macs.
But that wont mean Microsofts headed for the dustbin of
tech history, with Windows maintaining a strong presence on PCs even as its
share on all client devices in the workplace erodes to below 50 percent.
Meanwhile, Microsofts Office franchise will remain strong because of
Microsofts growing support for Office on non-Windows devices.
Apple is a beneficiary of the increasing presence of
personal devices in the enterprise or the trend of
bring-your-own-device (BYOD). However, Microsoft is just as clearly
aware of the potential threat that mobility poses to its various software
franchises. Its upcoming Windows 8 will appear on tablets in addition to
traditional PCs; many of the postings on its official Building Windows 8
blog have centered
on mobile-centric features such as Windows 8s app store and support for ARM
As part of the flurry of details surrounding Windows on ARM
(the architecture that will power many of the upcoming tablets), Microsoft also
let slip that it will support a new version of Office software. Within the
Windows desktop, WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word,
Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, code-named Office 15, Steven Sinofsky,
president of Microsofts Windows and Windows Live division, wrote in a
Feb. 9 posting on the blog
. WOA will be a no-compromise product for people
who want to have the full benefits of familiar Office productivity software and
In addition, reports suggest that Windows 8 will
interoperate in many ways with Windows Phone 8, the next version of Microsofts
Although Microsoft clearly recognizes that mobility is key
to both the enterprise and its own fortunes, the question is how
effectively it can take necessary market share from well-entrenched opponents
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