Risk-Averse Enterprises May Favor Windows Phone 8

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-09-01 Print this article Print

As popular as the iPhone is, Apple does not provide a safe haven. First, Apple has never been particularly enterprise-friendly. After all, Apple is focused on consumers, and while it watches over their interests, it doesn't provide enterprises with the management tools, the security or an easy process for creating custom, enterprise-focused apps.

Second, while the iPhone faithful will likely buy some 2 million iPhones on the first day of sales, the design is getting a bit long of tooth. Today's iPhone 4S doesn't look greatly different from the original iPhone. And while the iPhone 5 will have a different screen aspect ratio, it'll still look a lot like every other iPhone. The biggest difference is that all those iPhone accessories you have now won't work. Worse, the supply of iPhones may be limited at first as screen production is apparently lagging.

Android devices have their own risks. Corporations see everything from fragmentation to the susceptibility to malware as a risk. Carriers worry that they may be stuck with phones they can't sell. This is where the attention turns to Microsoft and Windows Phone 8.

Carriers like Microsoft because it's not Apple. Microsoft doesn't demand big subsidies from the carriers for every phone they sell, and it doesn't demand royalties that cut into profits. Enterprises like Microsoft because the company has been a reliable partner for years, and it's usually delivered products that were designed with the enterprise in mind (except for occasional slips, like the Kin phone).

Consumers also seem to like well-designed Windows Phones. AT&T sold every Lumia 900 it could get its hands on, effectively causing a worldwide shortage of Nokia phones when it was introduced in the spring of 2012. T-Mobile has no problem selling Lumia 710 phones, despite their small screen size.

Now, the leaked photos of new Windows 8 phones are showing some very sleek devices that don't look like iPhones, but that in fact seem to be more modern designs. The new Windows 8 phone from Samsung is said to be incredibly thin. The new Windows 8 phones from Nokia and HTC seem to have nearly eliminated the bezel, and appear to have screens that reach to the very edge of the phones.

Now what Microsoft needs to do is get its manufacturers to get enough phones into stores to satisfy demand, set prices so that they are clear alternatives to the current crop of Android and Apple phones, and create a collection of compelling apps in the Microsoft store and strong sales will likely result. This could be Microsoft's moment, but everything has to come together just right and that appears to be happening–so far.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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