When I had the opportunity this week to dive yet a little bit deeper in the upcoming release of Windows 8 and accompanying devices, I once again realized that Microsoft will have a hard time winning back the hearts of consumers. With the notable exception of the Xbox with Kinect, there hasn't been much coolness coming from Redmond for quite a long time, at least so it seems.
Even with the boldly reimagined ‘Metro style’ user interface of Windows 8 (never mind that Start button), a wave of smartphone announcements that still invoke real oohs and aahs and Microsoft-built tablets that have all the features to star in glamorous, trendy ads, it’s an uphill battle.
The ironic thing may very well be that Microsoft needs to follow the corporate path first in order to reach out to the consumer. Think about it: in contrast to the iOS and Android-dominated consumer technology, Windows 8 is very suitable to be managed in an enterprise context, also in a situation in which the bulk of the company PC’s and laptops are still running Windows 7 (or just began doing so). Security is deeply built in into the programming model and runtime platform. The integration with Office, the enterprise de facto standard, is superior. Also, the ability to switch identities between business roles and consumer roles - including different levels of freedom and access to IT resources such as apps and information, consistently supported on a range of devices – is unmatched.
All good reasons for an enterprise to prefer Windows 8 when selecting mobile (and non-mobile) devices for corporate use. In contrast to the usual company-issued technology however, here we have a wave of solutions with a compelling, very up-to-date user experience that quickly will grow on its users as they start to realize that using the devices and software is actually fun. It just takes a little time and getting rid of the prejudice.
ITerization of the Consumer might be adequate naming for this phenomenon. But even better would be to rephrase BYOD as Bring Your Office Device.
That’s right, Bring Your Office Device: “the business policy of employees bringing company-supplied mobile devices to their homes and using those devices for personal consumer purposes such as entertainment, shopping and other private, non-business related activities”.
All ready for inclusion in Wikipedia, be my guest.