More Windows Tablets? Believe it When You See It

I have figured out why the generic "enterprises say they'll buy Windows tablets" is such a guaranteed must-read: Because nobody really believes it, but everybody wants it -- and is willing to see what facts might support such a statement.

I think it's because the idea is something still too good to be true: A device that delivers as much functionality and ease of use as an Apple iPad, but in a version that runs Windows apps natively and is more familiar and therefore easier to manage by most enterprise IT shops. That is why when you ask enterprise IT types if they could see themselves buying Windows tablets, they say yes. And some IT leaders will even say the same thing, publicly, again to an almost guaranteed headline.

But look behind the headlines and you see the "data" is still murky. The survey that says enterprises want Windows tablets was conducted before the actual release of the latest version of Windows tablets, which by most reports so far have sold in underwhelming numbers. And the user who said he'd switch from iPads and iPhones to Windows tabletsonly has 50 iPhone/iPad users. So I would caution anyone from thinking this is a groundswell just yet.

Contrary to what some readers want to think, I have no stake in the game when it comes to tablet use. I'm just trying to relay to others what is working on the ground, and as such, I am holding way back and waiting to see more real proof of Windows tablets in production environments before saying anything more than it's an idea people would like to happen.

I still believe that part of what is driving the iPhone/iPad use in the enterprise is that people like to use those devices for their personal communication needs, and access work activity as a secondary desire. Even if IT departments start buying Windows tablets and phones for work use, will that overcome the people using iPads and iPhones on their own? Will those people stop using the iDevices just because work gives them a Windows device? That's the real question that hasn't yet been asked in any survey I've seen.

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