back to article Why IT chiefs are irrelevant to Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy

Further evidence has emerged of the irrelevance of Windows 8 to enterprise IT – and of the irrelevance of this irrelevance. A Forrester survey of IT hardware decision makers has found Windows 8 is less popular than its predecessor Windows 7 at the same stage in their launch cycles. Just a quarter of firms expect to roll out …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Microsoft can secure an end-run around enterprise IT as consumers bring Windows 8 devices into work. Then, IT shops will end up supporting Windows 8 on their network"

    Lol. There is so much fail in this paragraph. Firstly they won't be receiving support for their own devices and secondly if they bring in their own device, they are limited to services they can get outside of the network anyway which is no different from working at home.

    1. Tezfair

      Re: really?

      I agree, it seems that the device will only be able to get on the internet as software can't potentially be installed under license agreements, you not going to give up a Office license for someone to take home and keep on their own machine. If someone comes in with a W8 box then the local IT support shouldn't be supporting it. Who's at fault if they screw up an owners device and it blue screens when they fire it up at home?

      I still can't get my head around the BYOD concept as its a security risk if nothing else. Lets see, the night before the device gets a virus, then the next day its exposed to the corporate network. Plus if the device is running a consumer free AV, how is it legally allowed to be ran in a corporate environment.

      I just don't get it.

      1. IT veteran

        Re: really?

        That is probably why employees of MS partners can get cheap copies of Office (for about £20 I think). Also, Server 2008 has a system which allows users to attach their own laptops to the domain. It checks security software etc is up to date. MS use it in their offices. Amazing what tech can do now days, isn't it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: really?

          Cheaper than that - got my Office 2010 for £8 via the Partner programme.

          What said when the company president walked into the IT department with his new Christmas iPad last January and assumed they could just "connect it to the system" the look on the IT guys faces was priceless...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: really?

          The "free" copies of Office for home machines did not change our company policies. The work PCs were locked down and encrypted. BYOD could not connect into the company intranet. Their physical connection only allowed access to the normal internet.

    2. kb

      Re: really?

      Not to mention that they changed Win 8 so damned much with Metro and the changes to the guts that frankly much of the software businesses use (and a lot of home user software as well) won't run on the stupid thing so MSFT can try to "end run" all they want but who cares if the user's software won't run on the thing?

      And if they are betting on consumers they are betting on the wrong pony as consumers HATE Win 8, I had a Win 8 unit set up in my shop for nearly 7 months and NOBODY wanted the thing, even though it was a damned nice unit, I put Win 7 Home on it? BAM its walking out my door less than 5 days later. 7 months...FIVE DAYS, is there anything else a retailer needs to know? Just look at how Newegg is pushing Win 8 units while you don't hardly see a unit on Tigerdirect that isn't win 7. I'd love to see their recent sales figures as i would not be surprised to see Tiger moving twice the PCs simply by not carrying the turkey on their popular models.

      So you have an OS that isn't made for business, has trouble running all but the most bleeding edge software (Quickbooks has already said NOTHING but QB 2013 will be supported, want anything else tough cheese, for just one example) and that consumers fricking hate...yeah, great plan their MSFT, I have to give you credit though, you did finally manage to make Vista look good in comparison as its fricking easier to sell a Vista Home unit than it is a Win 8 one.

  2. Wibble

    Most people would respond "What's an operating system?"

    I suppose half of the respondents said that they wanted to be a fire engine when they grow up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solutions looking for problems

    Isn't this also being a bit generic with the term "business"?

    Sure touch on a tablet should have some business applications - for example a storesman working in a warehouse with a hand-held device for stock control management. There it's a desirable thing, and there's an opportunity.

    But for an office person sat at a desk piloting Word or Excel and making reports or number-crunching then it's a 30-second thrill of the new, followed by a product lifetime of irrelevance and getting in the way.

    Being honest, how much of business is in the first category and how much in the second?

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    Yet another hack at pushing BYOD.

    <Quote from Forrester>"

    "But we do expect that employees will force IT to have a formal support policy for Windows 8 for employee-owned devices. Windows 8 will accelerate BYOD demand. "

    So we have now decided that the only way to make changes in a company is to use a back door/low level trick of getting the employees to "override" the upper management decisions - because the employees "want" to bring in their own devices !!!!!!!!.

    Some problems here :

    * The employees don't hold the purse strings.

    * The employees don't generally understand the importance of budgets.

    * Employees will look no futher than the end of their noses.

    * The employees do not have to support Device X, Y, Z etccc...

    * Companies buy devices in order to get jobs done, not to simply please their employees.

    * An employeee bringing their own material probably won't bring it for the purposes of working.

    and finally

    * Employees are just that - Employees.

    Side note : The term "employees" is used in the Non Management, Non Decision making kind of employee.

    Who profits from BYOD, probably not the company and definately not the employee. Therefore, this push of BYOD is stemming from whom exactly, the manufacturers, Microsoft, Gartner et al ?

    It would be more interesting to ask the employees:

    * Would you like to bring you own devices to work : 90% would reply Yes.

    * Would you like to bring you own devices to work for work purposes : 5% might reply Yes.

    The <ul>majority</ul> of employees probably want to BYOD for their own purposes, Facebook, Twitter et al.. There probably are one or two that have a genuine requirement but it may be more advisable for them to simply change job if the correct material is not being supplied.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Yet another hack at pushing BYOD.

      "So we have now decided that the only way to make changes in a company is to use a back door/low level trick of getting the employees to "override" the upper management decisions"

      More like MS will give free tablets to upper management and tell them there will be no problem* using it with the company systems.

      *as long as all your software and servers are the latest versions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yet another hack at pushing BYOD.

        But we do expect that employees will force IT to have a formal support policy for Windows 8 for employee-owned devices.

        Ours is easy - It won't be supported.

        Not as simple for some, I know, but that's our policy and one that's likely to persist for quite some time. The business provides the (actually good quality, no cheap shite) IT and the employee's use it.

        1. foxyshadis

          Re: Yet another hack at pushing BYOD.

          That attitude works right up until a senior exec hears about how this or that device is now business ready. Saw it happen in multiple businesses with iPhones and now Android while stodgy sysadmins were still clinging to woefully outdated Blackberries. It'll happen with Win8 too.

          Better to at least experiment and have some kind of policy ready to go so you're not caught flatfooted the day the demands come down.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh yes, businesses will cater for their workers

    and adapt Windows RT, absolutely.

  6. Magister


    At first, I was like a lot of people, thinking that this was a pile of pants. However....

    Even though it was agreed that we would not be using BYOD, the reality is that a lot of staff and managers are doing exactly that. IT don't officially support these; but it's surprising how often we end up fixing stuff. And where we don't do this, the staff get support from amongst themselves.

    This causes a major problem; staff start doing stuff like keeping their expenses on their phones and then expecting the internal systems to allow them to synch the data. Great when they are all using different apps to do the work.

    Some IT people (and business managers) take the view that staff will have to accept the company view or go elsewhere; guess what, they will move on. At some stage, management will realise that they can't get the staff and will change their view; and at that point, there will be a godawful panic to implement BYOD in a couple of days.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm


      <quote>Some IT people (and business managers) take the view that staff will have to accept the company view or go elsewhere; guess what, they will move on.</quote>

      Have you ever tried to understand why IT or Management might take that approach ?

      And I think you might be surpised at how many people are in the position make the decision "to move on" just because they couldn't BYOD..... Would you really refuse a job because of that ???'

      1. Magister

        Re: Hmmm

        "Have you ever tried to understand why IT or Management might take that approach " - I am an IT Manager. I have been for over 15 years.

        I can tell you from experience that there are a lot of people that will move on and I say that having already seen some examples. Agreed, many of these are the younger generation now entering the workplace; unlike the older generations (of which I am one) they simply will not stand for working in a way that doesn't meet their preferred method of working. Even if they start, they will move on very quickly and the company will spend more time and resources just trying to recruit replacements.

        Senior (C-Level) managers were totally against the idea of BYOD; until they saw a man in the pub that can do something on his shiny toy and then they all wanted the same. They then all became converts overnight and started preaching the "Word according to Jobs". You can put up road blocks to prevent it, but at some point, they will just brush you aside; at which point you lose all credibility.

        And I will say again that my views were very similar to yours; but things change and we have to change with them. Those that are prepared to adapt to the changes will find that the process is easier; those that refuse to change will suddenly find that they are being forced to change and that is when it gets very painful.

        1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm

          "Those that are prepared to adapt to the changes will find that the process is easier; those that refuse to change will suddenly find that they are being forced to change and that is when it gets very painful."

          This is exactly what happened when folk started to bring their Apple ][ personal computers in to work to do the sort of data crunching that they weren't allowed to do using the company mainframe (even if they could have - there were no spreadsheets on the mainframe). The PC's were borged into the enterprise eventually, as the new shiny boxes will be, but there's going to be the same period of tension between the wishes of the employee to do things their way and the IT managers wanting to trammel those desires. Both, of course, are right in their own way and neither will accept the merits of the other's arguments. Should be fun.

        2. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm


          I can understand your point of view and it may very well be that we work in completely different industries but I just can't see how people can be "profitable" using their own devices. I am making the presumption that their own devices will not be "laptops" as they are easy to come by in most compaines today..

          Without a full keyboard and/or possibly a mouse/good pointing devcie I just can't imagine what "productive" effort can be made on a tablet or a smartphone.

          I can understand a Sales/Marketing person using a tablet in order to present a PPT but apart from that I must be pretty short on ideas. I don't have an unlimited budget but if I wanted tablets or other toys I could easilly get them but personally I dont see how they could help me as an IT Manager/administrator.

          Maybe if I hear/see some reasonable productive examples or use cases I might possibly change my point of view... i just haven't see anything usefull yet.

          - Remote Desktop depends too much on carrier signal/strength.

          - Editing anything other than basic text files is terrible on anything that doesn't possess a keyboard.

          - Anything requires finesse in selection is a nightmare without a mouse or high precision poiting device.

          - I don't need or use Social Media or Web 2.0 gadgets.

          * I agree that tablets are usefull for Media Consumption but this is not really a business requirement.

          * I can catch up on "El Reg" in the tram on my Galaxy Note.

          * I have realtime access to my email with my BB.

          * I have a laptop/VPN/3G Dongle for weekend work and travel.

          All of the above supplied by the company. Except the Galaxy Note.

          I am all ears in relation to understanding reasons for BYOD....

          1. Magister

            Re: Hmmm

            This is turning into a very sensible discussion - something must be wrong here!

            There was a time when people queried the value of staff having their own PC; did we really need to have so many staff that needed to use a computer? Then there was the issue of laptops; just "toys for the boys" which they wouldn't really be using productively. (At one time, much the same argument was made about the telephone.) The reality is of course that both the PC and the laptop became essential business tools without which most companies now would struggle to operate effectively.

            The key item in your last post is that you say "I don't need.. " this is probably true, but the desire (if not the actual need) is being generated by the end users, not by those that have to manage it.

            Some years ago, one of the MDs that I worked for was doing a lot of sales overseas. Margins were quite tight and changes in the exchange rate could turn a profitable sale into a loss. I installed a feed on his PC so that he could see the currency movements in real time; the savings were sufficient that it paid for my salary (and more) for the whole year. The same guy now has an app on his smartphone so that he can do the same when he is out on the road. Little things like this sound so silly, but they really do make a huge difference to the bottom line of a business.

            And this is the point; it's not about the IT, but about the business. Processes are changing and customers (and staff) are demanding much more flexibility in the way that everyone works. The IT provision will have to deliver that flexibility whilst at the same time trying to maintain stability and security.

            As it happens, I suspect that this discussion is not going to go away; there will come a time when people will see tablets, smartphones etc as being really old fashioned (you have to use your hands? That's baby stuff!) I can see a time when we will have wearable comms devices (a bit like ST:TNG) and voice controlled systems. When that happens, I know that I will feel like a complete dinosaur...

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: Hmmm

              If I was to try and summarize your last point it might go along the lines that the BYOD devices are not actually replacements for our main working tools, the telephone and/or the laptop, but are in fact a "supplementary" means of increasing the range of tools at ones disposition..

              In that case then, yes, I can see the point of BYODs.

  7. jb99


    “Which operating system would you prefer to use on your next tablet?” was the question Forrester asked. The survey respondents gave Windows 8 equal billing to iOS, but Windows 7 pulled in 12 per cent support, placing it third."

    Really? Android got nothing?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      From similar articles elsewhere on t'net, Android was at 11%.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Really?

      It also assumes that the user would actually have knowledge of the current/ future systems. Apart from the Tech Savvy very few people are capable of distinguishing between version of OS's.

      I asked someone one day which Operating System they have on their work computer and they answered "MS Word I think"....... This came from someone with a degree and who was by no means an idiot.....just a little clueless on IT.

      The questions in this survey were really twisted....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Why don't you follow the link instead of asking, it would have faster!

  8. Arctic fox

    Not surprising.

    "The other reason is Microsoft’s own field sales team are pushing Windows 7. The goal for Microsoft’s fiscal year 2013 is 70 per cent of enterprise PCs running Windows 7."

    This is not surprising, Win7 is still Redmond's main platform for enterprise and I would have been astonished if they really thought that they could get a significant proportion of those business customers who are only now transitioning from XP to jump straight to 8. I get a strong feeling that whatever MS is saying publicly their strategy overall for the current product cycle will in reality be "twin prong", ie both 7 and 8. I believe that as far as they are concerned 8 is there to save a place for them in the tablet market rather than being their main effort overall whilst at the same time (in the form of Win8 rather than RT) still being compatible. How successful this attempt to straddle two horses at once will be remains to be seen but it is clear that that is what they are trying to do.

    1. tonysmith

      Re: Not surprising.

      I have to agree. Leave win7 for enterprise and win8 with its "App Store" thing to tap the new app buying consumer market. If that was their strategy then I think they are playing to their strengths while trying something new.

      Also I hope they do well in the consumer market. Win8 needs some refinement but if it does well it will force everyone to up their game. That can only be a good thing.

      1. Arctic fox

        @tonysmith RE: "If that was their strategy...........

        ................then I think they are playing to their strengths while trying something new."

        I am not sure whether that indeed was their intended strategy at the outset. However, I have noticed since the "Build Conference" when they launched the pre-beta (about a year ago now) that they have been somewhat less than precise about what their strategy is with regard to which os they will be pushing for enterprise. I get the feeling that there has been some "politics" going on internally (of which Sinofsky's departure may be one of the external signs) and that it is possible that there are those at Redmond who have been arguing that they have not yet got the mileage sales-wise out of 7 that it still potentially has and that 8's main function should be seen as ensuring that they do not get permanently locked out of the tablet market. I do not get the feeling that this view was universal at Redmond at the outset but that it now may have gained the upper hand.

      2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Not surprising.

        But wouldn't it have made more sense to widen it a bit towards Win7 for non-touchscreens and Win8 for touchscreens?

        That way if adoption of hardware goes towards touch if/when applications where it's a plus, then naturally Win8 adoption will follow. And if not then nothing's particularly lost and you're still on the optimised for application path, and worst-case Win8 can become a touch-niche.

        That way Win8 could have its best chance to look good on touch hardware where it fits best, without all the negativity that has happened surrounding trying to jam it into non-touch kit where it doesn't fit and its relevance is much more questionable over Win7.

        1. Arctic fox

          @Anonymous Custard RE:"But wouldn't it have made more sense to..............?"

          I would not actually disagree with you. In the sense that if Redmond had had an agreed consensus strategy from the beginning with regard to the way they should tackle these issues then what you have pointed out would indeed have made a lot of sense. However, I have a strong feeling that up until the Build Conference about a year ago there were two or more warring camps with regard to precisely those strategic questions. The result has been (and here I admit that I am guessing) that the strategy that appears to be "materialising" has been somewhat ad hoc rather than properly planned at the outset. It may very well be that the result of the internal turf-wars that have undoubtedly been going on may be something like that you describe as initial customer response in the mass-market kicks in.

  9. Steve Knox

    So Much FAIL

    The survey respondents gave Windows 8 equal billing to iOS, but Windows 7 pulled in 12 per cent support, placing it third.


    1. iOS beat out Windows 8 by a full 6%.

    2. Windows 7 didn't pull in anything, as it was grouped in a category with "or another Windows OS".

    3. Said category got 12%, bringing it in 4th, well below Google Android with 17%, and barely above "No Preference" and "I won't use a tablet at work."

    From the Forrester report, in order listed on the chart:

    Windows 8: 20%

    Windows 7 or another Windows OS: 12%

    iOS: 26%

    Google Android: 17%

    No Preference: 11%

    I don't plan to use a tablet for work: 11%

    others (3 @ 1%) omitted for brevity

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: So Much FAIL

      I think you may have Android and "Don't plan to use a tablet at work" backwards (the 11% and 17% figures) with Android being the one at 11%.

      At least that's based on other articles on the net based on the same report, although I can fully understand the confusion as both seem to be using the same grey colour on their pie chart.

      1. Bent Outta Shape

        Re: So Much FAIL

        You have to see the chart to really appreciate what the graphic artists may have been smoking that day.

        a) "I don't want to work on a tablet (paraphrased)" - coloured in 77% grey.

        b) "Google Android" - coloured in 76% grey.

        I needed the GIMP to tell them apart; to my eye they're completely identical. Direct link to chart, from the link in the article:-

        PS Android had the 11% rating.

  10. Blarkon

    Windows 7 supported touch

    ASUS EP 121 was a touch screen Windows 7 tablet. Windows 7 supported touch. It didn't do it as well as Windows 8 does, but it still did it.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Re: Windows 7 supported touch

      Indeed Windows 7 implements a full multi-touch API with gesture support (zoom, pan, etc). It has emulation support. Assuming the app passes WM_GESTURE messages to DefWindowProc correctly - as it should for *all* unknown window messages - Windows then converts the messages to 'legacy' messages, emulating a scroll bar message (vertical or horizontal) for panning, a right-click for press-and-hold or press-and-tap, and a mouse-wheel scroll with the CTRL key pressed for a pinch zoom. That tends to cause zoom to operate in discrete steps rather than smoothly.

      There are numerous cases of applications *not* passing unrecognized messages to DefWindowProc, though, breaking all kinds of functionality that depends on this.

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  12. Curious

    Is there a coinciding push for IT departments to buy volume license + software assured Windows Enterprise upgrade CALs.

    I.e UserExperience-V and similar MDOP tools to keep this BYOD stuff in some manageable shape? Which likely ends up costing more than the tradition business supplied set-up.

  13. Combat Wombat

    That worked so well...

    for Vista didn't it ?

    Most IT shops are going to go to Win 7.. and stay there for the next 10 years

  14. daveeff

    the cult of celebrity

    Even boards seem to allow themselves to be influenced by image not profit. They want something that people love, that celebs use, that makes good photos, that their friends use...

    When Balmer goes to a party he sick of people waving their iPhones saying you don't make anything cool like this. The fact MS is on more desktops that Apple doesn't have the same kudos.


  15. Keven E.

    Irrelevance is for nobody.

    It does seem as if a touch screen environment is a further move toward providing (exclusively) a content delivery system... with considerable less options (or ease) for user input... into the realm of a basic user navigation of a predeterminacy. This is only my simple observation from the outside of the user paradigm. I'm not "living the dream" of cloud for others to relive on their handheld devices. Maybe I should, but, maybe my fingers are too big for that. Although dealing with "computing machines" for over 30 years, and enjoying most all of my experinces, it seems to be slowly fading. The "computing machine" paradigm, that is.

    Some security issues seem moot as actual enterprise access (because of interoperability) is remarkably reduced with BYOD. Are we really spending company money securing someone else's paid for daily schedule app or their internet access use and history on BYOD? Why? Because the users talents aren't being leveraged (for the company) without that provision? Methinks not. Your CRM isn't delivering the kind of data you are used to? As much as some may not think... it's just a different kind of machine. As applications are delivering non-work/enterprise supplied information, it's up managers to set use policys and point out relative applicability for business. The lines are blurring as fast as managers are allowing themselves to become *users, and claiming actual business applications for what really is divided attentions. I'm not saying there aren't productive work from home applications that need enterprise speed, security and flexibility. The technology clearly isn't really there yet as blanket provisions... that's why there's this discussion I'd guess.

    To not develop interactivity is a bit non-progressive and let's not get all control freak on the users... but those aren't the IT department's responsibility. Suppliers/developers need to build and sell a product that works and allows for system and users growth. I believe the user knows (if you tell them) when a decision is there to protect and grow business for you and them... and don't let users redefine the work process to include IT providing them with *unrestricted 24 hour access to an "advertisement device's" delivery connection. I'm not supporting/delivering CableTV on their desk... for the same reason. IT managers are not generally productivity managers, we should be enablers. Users need to offer actual productivity increases, not "I'm not using all my talent if I don't feel like I have the newest technology." What % of advertising inside content starts erroding productivity? I suggest that's a pretty small number. I feel it.

    Yes, I realize I'm asserting "nobody" is developing backward compatability (which I assume is not true). Consumers are not leaders here, just demanders. Touch screen environments don't seem to be (designed as) enablers, however, from the enterprise perspective. To claim irrelevancy in any case seems foolish.

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