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 architecture.
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 compatibility.
In addition, reports suggest that Windows 8 will interoperate in many ways with Windows Phone 8, the next version of Microsofts smartphone platform.
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 like Apple.