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IT Not Supporting Windows 8 Tablets (Yet)

Perhaps it will come as little surprise but IT pros say their organizations readily support iPads much more than tablets running Windows 8. The numbers are 61 percent and 15 percent respectively. This is according to 1,178 Redmond magazine readers who responded to our just-published 2013 Readership Survey. Only 9 percent support Windows RT -- a version designed for ARM-based tablets that only supports Microsoft's modern apps and can't join Active Directory domains.

Now keep in mind, this wasn't an either-or question. iPads started shipping more than three years ago and are hugely popular, while Windows 8/RT tablets only became available in late October and haven't enjoyed the same success so far. The number of Windows IT pros who expect to support Windows 8 tablets in a year from now will rise to 39 percent and to 18 percent for supporting Windows RT, those same respondents said, while 63 percent expects to manage iPads. .

The survey showed that 32 percent currently supported Android-based tablets while that number will rise to 41 percent in a year. Nearly a third (30 percent) doesn't support any tablets -- a figure that's expected to decline to 19 percent.

Market trends predict tablets outpacing PCs in terms of demand. IDC's latest forecast shows tablets will out ship PCs within two years. The Redmond magazine readership doesn't reflect that view but this is hardly surprising. You're IT pros managing the infrastructure of business or public sector employees, who are still more likely to do their work on some form of desktop or notebook device. Increasingly the trend will shift to hybrid devices that function as both. But most don't see a pure tablet replacing a fully functional computing device. I share that view.

But those same employees will increasingly use their tablets and smartphones more when they don't have access to their PCs. And it will be in the interest of IT organizations to support these devices. Microsoft sees that trend, which is why some of the next versions of Windows Server, System Center and Windows Intune, announced at last week's TechEd conference in New Orleans, will offer more secure mobile device management and emphasize what Microsoft is now calling "people-centric IT."

Today the outlook for Windows 8 and its successor release is uncertain at best. But neither was Windows 3.0 when Microsoft introduced it over two decades ago. The challenge for this next generation of Windows is much higher with much different market dynamics. Nevertheless it's too early to dismiss Microsoft's staying power. And there's another key variable. One thing that hasn't changed is IT pros -- like all people -- don't embrace change overnight.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/10/2013 at 1:15 PM


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