The fate of Windows 8
is yet to be determined, but amid lagging PC sales
and grumpy customers who just aren’t all that excited about Microsoft’s latest operating system, there’s a bit of a dark cloud over it. The cloud is even darker over tablets
8; for example, Microsoft
's Surface tablets have badly missed sales expectations
among average consumers, and the likes of Samsung have actually cancelled some Windows RT tablet launches
However, according to a white paper by Patrick Moorhead, former AMD executive and current analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy (with help from Paul Teich), the enterprise could be the market where Windows tablets find their footing.
The Dell Latitude 10, perfect for the enterprise
In the paper, Moorhead notes that tablets first penetrated the
enterprise as the iPad became popular among end users, even though the
tablets really weren’t ideal for the workplace. For example, they’re
expensive and have only limited enterprise features; a square peg in a
round hole if you will. Now that there’s a slew of lower-power tablets
that run full versions of Windows 8 instead of a mobile OS hitting the
market, options for companies are very different.
Moorhead lays out some of the advantages of Windows 8-based tablets over iPads: The batteries can be configured to last up to twice as long, and HP in particular lets enterprise customers replace the battery and PCB quickly. In terms of expandability and I/O, it’s no contest; just look at this chart:
Further, Windows 8 tablets are compatible with Windows 7 and all of the applications and features that go along with it, and they offer “the same comprehensive PC enterprise features deployed and already in use by enterprises”. In terms of raw cost, iPads and Windows tablets are about on par for the most part; although some of the Windows devices cost more up front, companies save big on management tools with them versus iPads.
Moorhead’s conclusion? “Enterprise tablets now exist that provide the best of both worlds between end user and IT, which puts the Apple in a precarious position of needing to add more robust enterprise features,” he writes. “Until that point, Moor Insights & Strategy recommends enterprises re-evaluate their iPad pilots and deployments.”
No one’s saying that the iPad isn’t a superb machine, because it is; however, Windows 8 tablets from the likes of HP, Dell, and Lenovo appear to be clearly better options in the enterprise, and by proxy, a lot of end users.
One final note: Nowhere in the white paper did Moorhead mention Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, which may also be telling about the future of that particular Windows 8 device.