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Businesses Handhelds Microsoft Portables Apple

Microsoft's Approach To Battling the iPad In the Workplace 249

Posted by timothy
from the pound-on-the-table dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Even though Microsoft's public stance, when asked about the impact of Apple's slate is 'iPad? What iPad?', the Redmondians are preparing the company's partners for battle in 2011. Microsoft is making available to its reseller partners marketing collateral to help them defend against the iPad's encroachment into the enterprise market. I had a chance to check out a PowerPoint dated December 2010 on 'Microsoft Commercial Slate PCs' that the company is offering to its partners to help them explain Microsoft's slate strategy to business users." Besides the iPad, there are also the raft of tablets (available and upcoming) running Android, and Blackberry's QNX tablet that Microsoft will have to sell past.
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Microsoft's Approach To Battling the iPad In the Workplace

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  • by rrossman2 (844318) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @11:43PM (#35003144)

    We use Ipads a lot in the ETC center of the College of Education at Pen State. With remote desktop, exchange integration, the size and portability, web functionality, it's a great tool for sys admins who need to go help others while still retaining the ability to remote into servers and other such devices to change configs, manage support tickets, update databases etc. Less bulky than a laptop, while providing the tools we need.

    It's not to say Android devices wouldn't do the job as well, but the iPads were out first and fit the bill nicely (and being on the Mac Admin side it fit well with the existing infrastructure).

    They're also used during interviews to record audio so we can easily go back and check on things that were said

  • by Tharsman (1364603) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @12:08AM (#35003540)

    Depends how it's handled, although most the things I will bring up can also be achieved with an Android tablet (with proper Tablet version, until Honeycomb comes out, the iPad is the only real option.)

    Here are a few examples: A corporation can get a corporate apple development license, this means they can write and load any proprietary software they may need into the device. This can range from simple data entry applications with business focus to server management and security administration clients. A big conception between Apple critics is that the iOS is extremely closed and Apple wont let anyone do anything with it. This is not a concern for enterprise since the Enterprise Developer license is only $500/year (nothing for a small company) and allows internal application deployment across all the company devices. No Apple approval involved. Your boss can give you all the porn you want (under the risk of being taken to court under a sexual harassment case but that's a different story.) Apple's device lock-down also means companies can make sure the device they provide their employees does not get misused as users only can install from the company repository and not download games from the App Store, after all, Apple does not allow downloads of even free games without signing into the App Store with a password, and an enterprise is very likely to lock the device to their own account through Parental Controls. Android Openess may be a weakness in that department.

    The iPad also has support for blue-tooth keyboards and Apple's Office contender is available for the device, plus a few others like Documents To Go and Quick Office. It is much more viable than a laptop in a fast-moving office. Example: Mike is working on a presentation on his desk, with a blue-tooth keyboard to do fast typing and a copy of Apple's PowerPoint alternative. He can then just stand up from his desk, leaving the keyboard behind and run to the presentation room. In this presentation room, he meets with another 10 (or whatever) managers with similar situations. Here, he uses his iPad to stream via Air Play his presentation into a projector hooked to an Apple TV receiver. As soon as he is done the next employee moves in with his iPad and takes over the projector without bothering with cabling switching.

    Another situation, a project manager sits with his boss in a one-to-one meeting and he takes his iPad, again, leaving the keyboard behind without bothering to unhook or un-dock a heavy laptop. At the meeting he is asked for some information and he quickly access it without having to go back to his desktop or be forced to carry a laptop. In a fast moving office environment, dragging laptops left and right is not viable. An iPad (or any well done tablet) can stay on without draining any battery and back in action with the click of a button. A laptop requires, in the best case, to be sleeping and closed, then opened up, accommodate in your lap, and type a password to log in. Worst case may require to wake from hibernation or even a full boot.

    I seen people pass iPads around a table, specially to show everyone some important email. Requires much less foresight than printing emails you think may be important.

    In a warehouse, the iPad is just a bliss. No warehouse depends on laptops for anything. [Almost] every advanced warehouse has bulky devices designed for "quick inventory management" (you may had seen them in the hands of UPS delivery guys) or hand held PDA/BarCode Scanner hybrid devices. Both tend to be heavily specialized and still force the employees to deal with desktops set up throughout the warehouse. Off course, others just use paper and a clipboard. Tablets can drastically streamline this and open the door for much much more due to their flexibility.

    IT staff can also use tablets for very effective remote server management. From simplistic VNC/RDP clients to dedicated management tools, amazing things can be achieved while stuck far from work or home if equipped with a 3G ready tablet.

    As I stated at

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc . r r . c om> on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @12:22AM (#35003752) Homepage

    I've actually found a business segment where the iPad has made a near perfect replacement for the traditional laptop. I don't see MS catching up anytime soon. I just finished up a 4 month project to get one my clients moved to iPad's for courtroom usage. I was approached by the Sr Partner in the firm to come up with a way for him to use his new toy back in August. I was then given an iPad and list of "requirements". It needed to be able to send and receive email, edit word and pdf's, sync with the firms docket calendar, record dictation in a standard format that would be emailable and would be foot pedal compatible and access documents back in the office. After evaluating a ton of products I chose Pages, Evernote, Drop Box and Dictate on Demand with Team Viewer as an option for the more advanced. It worked so well that the Sr Partner decided everyone needed one.

    Now everything they did on a notebook and a digital recorder requiring over $800 in software (MS Office, Gear Player, Adobe Acrobat, etc) has been replaced with a $800 worth of hardware and apps. So far its worked great the most expensive part aside from the iPad itself was the Dictation program which apparently they are quite proud of (it was $99). I had to wait a while for things to get out of beta, but when they say there is an app for that, they aren't kidding. Paired with a bluetooth keyboard (we picked up leather cases from Think Geek that have a keyboard built into the lid) they have all the capability they had with 4x the battery life, better connectivity and all the functionality the needed for a fraction of the price. For me its been great..no mid day treks to the courthouse or off hour support calls because the laptop crashed, got infected or randomly glitched. So far none have had any real issues at all that weren't simply lack of familiarity with the applications. It's going to take an awful lot for MS to be able to compete, windows 7 and its core applications simply aren't designed for finger input, instant on isnt going to happen unless its imbedded and then there is the issue of getting developers on board...based on their tack record with Windows Mobile I don't see it happening any time soon. I really think the biggest rival is going to Google assuming Honeycomb is as good as I hope it will be.

  • by gig (78408) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @01:34AM (#35004632)

    Windows Mobile 6.5 is outselling Windows Phone 7. That is all you need to know. Total failure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:26AM (#35005018)

    Quote
    it has everything that folks assert businesses are gagging for

    Ha-ha.
    Don't make me laugh.
    They are NOT repeat not gagging for Windows 7.
    Most corporate builds are not W7 yet. We tried at my place. But the main sales (Custom built in C/C++ with a bit of Java) app keep bombing out on W7 yet on Vista & XP and even Server 2008 it works fine. MS Support don't have a clue.

    I commute an hour on the train into work. I've yet to see more than a handful of laptops with W7. Vista? lots. even some really horrendously locked down XP builds. The majority of laptops are Mac's.
    As for tablets. Then it is all iPad. No wait. There was one Android nasty just after Christmas. You know the el cheapo chinese crop that runs android 1.6 and has a resistive screen ($99 in walmart type of thing). The guy had it for a christmas present. He soon swapped it for an iPad.
    Hereabouts, the GalaxyTab is MORE expensive than the iPad so no one is buying them. most people I know are waiting until Android 3 is available
    Windows Tablets? Yeah I know someone who has a pair of Lenovo X60/X61's. He loves it. Mainly due to the handwriting apps. If there were decent ones for the iPad then he'd change in an instant. The reason is battery life.
    Yeah, I expect that somewhere in Corporate land Windows 7 Tablets are all the rage and there might be some people gagging for them. IMHO, they are probably gagging on them.
    Like Apple of not the iPad had thrown a mighty big wrench into the market. MS is playing third fiddle here. They have a big chance to miss out completely unless they change themselves radically.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:38AM (#35005500) Journal

    Rather than the "open" platform resulting in widespread standardization, we only see more fragmentation as each vendor implements their own locked-down flavor of it.

    You're kidding, right?

    Because Angry Birds works just as well on my Droid2 as it does on my wifes LG Optimus. So does Tune-In Radio, (must have!) and EzTether. (another must-have)

    In other words, I have yet to notice any significant "fragmentation" between my phone and my wife's, despite being on different networks and being different phones at different pricepoints.

    Yes there are differences, pretty much akin to the differences when running Windows 7 on a Dell vs running Windows 7 on a Gateway... pretty comparable. The default icons are different, and the "desktop" is arranged slightly differently. (OMG!)

    I read, today, yet another article about "Linux fragmentation"... .something I've been reading about for over TEN YEARS. Somehow, it hasn't really happened, despite Linux running on everything from a low-end ARM CPU all the way up to 128-core SMP/NUMA servers.

    Are there differences in Linux compiles? Sure! That's sorta the point! A 200 Mhz ARM core with 4 MB of RAM has quite different needs than a 32-core database server with 192 GB of RAM. One size does NOT fit all!

    Are there GPL violations? Well, yeah, but they do tend to not be all that major, because major violations tend to cause problems for companies that perform them.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:46AM (#35005560) Journal

    Your comment, it's just not true. [j.mp] (not my chart, btw). The integrated Facebook app is a good indicator of a mobile platform's market performance. Facebook users are common enough that they make a significant and representative statistical sample.

    WP7 peaked below 1.5% market share on release, and is declining. It's now seeing about 4,300 new adopters each day worldwide, which is pathetic even for Windows Mobile. There is no way this can be described as "doing just fine." Its user base will never hit the 1.5 million units Microsoft claims are already delivered on its current trend, so somebody's about to get stuck with some dead inventory.

    Its replacement Windows 8 has already been shown running at CES and the roadmap has a 1/7/2013 in-store availability scheduled. W8 being a full Windows rather than a mobile OS will of course not be compatible. Intel has committed that they will field phone platforms with it that run regular Windows applications on x86 phones. They're "all in".

    So there's no reason to buy a WP7 phone. It failed to thrive, its execution date is set. There's no reason to develop apps for a phone with few users and no long-term prospects either.

    Funny story: the KIN [reddit.com] had about 8,000 sales and 300,000 Facebook likes. The integrated WP7 phone Facebook app has a little over 300,000 users now and less than 4,000 Facebook likes. It looks like buying Facebook likes has gone out of vogue with Microsoft's marketing department. But apparently hiring astroturfers to post on slashdot has not.

  • Re:one problem: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @05:08AM (#35006058) Journal

    This is an easy one to explain. Did you study the story of Beowulf in school? Bill Gates started out with the goal to be wealthy and famous. So he created this monster. It was feeble at first, but he got a lucky hit and fed it profits and it grew strong enough to procure for him and his people the desired kingdom of wealth and fame.

    By about 1982 he realized that he was already wealthier and more famous than he needed to be. He had more wealth than anybody could ever reasonably spend. Such profligate wealth does not incent your progeny to high levels of achievement. But he had many useful years left, and this big powerful monster. So he turned to hubris: The philanthropist's dream of immortal praise - to using his monster to build vast wealth with which to spend his late years dispensing with problems that have plagued mankind.

    Being the Alpha geek he is and founded in the moral certainty that his deeds were ultimately for the greater good, he then set his monster upon his opponents with greater zeal than ever before. For fifteen years his monster feasted on all comers growing stronger and stronger. It laid waste to the tech landscape, utterly destroying all who opposed it and most of its allies as well. This voracious beast has no moral compass, knows not friend from foe. It knows only hunger and power. His wealth grew to unimaginable proportions. Even though he bled the monster regularly, it grew in power and hunger logarithmically.

    Sometime around 1997 he realized the problem. The monster had vanquished so many enemies, had become so immortal, was so greedy and hungry, that it was in danger of becoming his legacy. In every place it achieved dominance it halted all learning, all innovation, all progress. Though he built a thousand bridges, salved a hundred diseases, found a way to feed the masses, that would not be his legacy - his monster would would wipe out all of those good deeds. It became his Grendel. The monster itself was likely to be the thing he was remembered for long after he was gone. And his name would be spat upon by the serfs who labored under its brutal tyranny. Something had to be done.

    And so he pulled its teeth. Instead of bleeding it a little at a time he bled it all at once with "special dividends". And then he cut at its guts, giving it incompetent marketing execs. Knowing guile to be its greatest weapon he laid bare its lying ways before the world. And of course, he bled it still to fund his charitable endeavors, but more prodigiously than ever before. And he gave it an incompetent rider, a captain sure to find no shore - a bumbling fool that could plausibly keep it from doing too much harm.

    For a decade now it's been blinded, as he was its vision. It's been bled. It's been led in circles and still it doesn't die. He's as shocked by that as you are. Still as it stumbles blindly about it subsists on bits of flesh it finds. Still it finds hopeful fools to lay down with it, expecting to arise in the morning the better for it. Still it hungers to be unleashed from this bumbling fool.

    But he can't have it. If Bill Gates is to be well remembered, to achieve his immortal hero goal, the monster he unleashed upon us all must die. He'll find a way. I believe in him.

    But for those hoping he's going to return and give his vision back to the monster, to revive it and restore it to its greater glory? No. That is not the plan.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @09:13AM (#35007448)

    Except MSFT won't modify Outlook, or Office to work on a touch screen. They have had 8 years and not done it once why would they bother now?

    WP7's exchange support is also lacking behind android and the iPhone. try reading some of the business reviews on it. WP7 focuses on twitter and facebook more than Exchange.

    People won't change what they know. it is why Office 2007 and 2010 have less users than Office 2003(which is what I have at work) Businesses don't want to spend $2000 for 10 people to get a new office suite every 3 years. not when that suite will work just fine in 10 years.

    why is IE 6 still around? Because people coded for it and it alone and now they can't/won't change the applications they have.

  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @09:55AM (#35007852) Homepage

    I've found another -- sheet music.

    An iPad works really, really for displaying sheet music. It fits on a music stand, the battery lasts forever, the display is gently backlit (goodbye orchestra pit light) and the user interface makes it easy to quickly change pages.

    I tried to use a PC running Tablet XP, but the OS didn't work well in portrait mode, I had to run a cord to it, and the screen needed a stylus.

    Using a laptop is impossible, I can't put one on my piano because it interferes with the controls, and putting it on a music stand just doesn't work.

    One thing I liked about the tablet XP machine - searching for songs was easy with the hand-writing recognition. Touching the screen on the iPad isn't too awful, because the program I use auto-completes, but I may get a bluetooth keyboard and mount it somewhere.

    Oh, I also use my iPad to watch TV in bed. This is better than a laptop, because it doesn't get hot, and I don't have to worry about falling asleep and blocking the vents with a blanket.

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