RIP Microsoft and long live Apple (or at least the integrated system). OK, so maybe I am being a little over the top with saying Microsoft is dead. But after watching the launch of their new product, The Surface, and thinking about what was said, there are several things that make me think this way. First, Microsoft tried to do an event akin to an Apple launch event but failed on several levels. Second, the invite they sent out was so vague and without excitement I am not surprised the attendance and noise wasn’t larger. Then there was Steve Ballmer, who is no Steve Jobs when it comes to giving keynotes. I almost fell asleep listening to him and his product people ramble on and on. They showed off the new devices but they had several issues with them not working or telling us what they would do instead of being able to show us something new and great. But none of this is the final nail in the Microsoft coffin because some great products aren’t always launched well. The final nail was delivered by Microsoft’s own words when they acknowledged the integrated system for personal computing can be the right system. Isn’t that exactly what Steve Jobs always espoused? Job has always said to get the bests results from a system or device you had to control the O/S, software, hardware and even the way it is used.
So what does this mean for all of us? It means that the days of I.T. controlling how people access content – where they access it from and what they access it with – are going away. We can now pick the device we want to use, whether it is an iPad, a Microsoft Surface, a PC, or a Mac. We can be at the office, home, a hotel or even a moving car with LTE (something the Surface doesn’t have), and we can expect to be able to work with documents, applications and website/web apps we need. So how is this happening? It is because the line is blurring between what constitutes a “professional” device and what is a “consumer” device. Companies can now consider your personal device a work device. Companies can invest in solutions that are cloud-based or remote access to traditional applications, and they can just provide access to these resources via the shiny, new devices the staff is already carrying with them to work. There are even companies that don’t provide any work computers at all. They give their employees an annual stipend that is to be spent on the device of their choice so that staff member can work the way they want to work from wherever they want.
Now what are companies getting from all of this? Well, some are getting what they see as a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for computing. Some are able to get better control over their intellectual properties (i.e. their data) by securing it at the datacenter or office. In this process , companies are still giving staff access in more places at all times so they are able to get more productivity through work shifting– a term used for working when you want and where you want. So what are we, the users, getting? We are getting the same things. We are getting access the way we want, when we want. We can now use the phone we already carry or the device we use to educate our children to work early in the morning or late at night so that we can have work fit around our lives. This will be even more important as the next generation of workers (“The Millennials”) begin to be our largest talent pool. These Millennials seek meaning first, recognition second and money last; whereas previous generations have thought of work being their life and placed more importance on money and what it allowed them to buy. Businesses have to be able to allow everyone to achieve their perfect balance of meaning, recognition and money so that they can achieve their maximum potential and maximum value for the company.
So how will we all do/get this? Well attend our Heroes, Villains, and Virtualization event this month and see for yourself as we lead a discussion with experts from Cisco, Citrix and EMC about the next generation of the workplace, workshifting and the cloud. If all of this didn’t convince you to attend, maybe our trailer video might.
Think I am right, wrong or crazy? Think Microsoft rules and Apple drools? As always please send me your comments and thoughts.