The announcement of Microsoft Surface has created quite the buzz in the market this week. Our own team at Softchoice has been enjoying some hearty discussion about the new platform’s potential impact on our corporate customers, and what this might mean for the ongoing tablet “wars”.
While at this point there are more questions than answers, one thing is for certain: This is a seminal moment for Microsoft. With this announcement, they’re boldly stating the traditional way they’ve done business with OEMs is changing.
We’ve identified three reasons we feel Microsoft Surface may do what no other tablet platform has been able to do: Give Apple a real run for its money in the corporate IT client computing space.
Reason #1: It plays to their sweet-spot: The corporate market.
With full Windows 8 integration, the Surface is designed for more than just couch-cruising. Paul Asseff, Softchoice’s VP of Business Development for Microsoft, had this to say:
“Although the consumer battle for tablets is mature, the corporate battle is not. In addition, we see the value to corporate customers around an improved ability to collaborate & communicate (safely and securely) through Wave 15 apps. If the infrastructure and user experience is superior (which you would expect) will this be enough to convince companies to pick a horse?”
Advantages of Windows 8 aside, there’s substantial buzz about the product’s functionality, design and its usability in a corporate setting. It’s no secret that tablets are mostly for consuming content. The lack of an integrated, physical keyboard has been a sticking point for many. The Surface’s extremely lightweight keyboard/cover should allow users to avoid touch-type frustration, without sacrificing weight or feel. And it’s innovative kickstand makes presentation viewing less awkward.
The idea of a jack-of-all-trades tablet that seamlessly integrates with all aspects of day-to-day desktop functionality might be very alluring to organizations looking for new ways to reduce device duplication & standardize across the board.
Reason #2: It plays well on both leisure and professional fronts.
Our team feels Surface may actually reduce device diversity in the enterprise. While it’s too early to say if Surface will live up to its potential, its fully integrated design and functionality are impressive for a tablet. With full USB ports, a Micro SD slot and full display port to connect and expand at under 2 pounds, Surface looks like an impressive offering.
What this means for IT leaders is the potential reduction in devices in the enterprise. If a tablet was powerful, portable and flexible enough…would other client hardware be needed at all? And if Surface is a compelling-enough solution to standardize on, will companies decide to abandon BYOD? This will be something we’ll closely keep an eye on.
For most users, tablets are used for content consumption, and not for serious work output. Surface has the potential to change that says Keith Groom, our Director of Business Development – Client Category:
“The notion that I can have a tablet to run office apps is really cool thing to contemplate for me. This could drive me to give up my laptop. Especially if the Surface can perform well at ‘content consumption’ including video, books, music etc.”
Reason #3: It likely will leverage your already substantial Microsoft licensing investment.
The arrival of a Microsoft tablet in the corporate market has been long coming. The presumed advantages of simplifying and reducing complexity with your Microsoft licensing are something to look forward to. Luke Black, our Manager of Business Development – Microsoft Category had this to say:
“Another factor for organizations to consider will be the upcoming CDL (Companion Device License). If organizations have active SA (Software Assurance) on their qualified desktops and standardize on Windows 8 companion devices, like the Surface, a CDL will not be needed. If the org decides on other non-Windows devices, a CDL will be needed. We don’t know how much the CDL will be but no doubt it will be impactful.”
What are your burning Surface questions?
Curious about availability? Licensing? Our Microsoft team is ready to answer any questions you have. Post them below in the comments and we’ll respond as soon as we can.