I'm old enough to remember the saying, "nobody ever gets fired for buying IBM." That phrase used to be used all the time in stories about corporate IT purchase decisions, and it mainly meant that no matter what new technology appeared on the scene, the good old mainframe would continue to dominate.
What I'm wondering now is if Microsoft Windows has become the IBM mainframe of the current era, or whether Windows and Windows apps still dominate the enterprise IT decision-making process. There was an interesting dynamic on a panel discussion this week at the Business Insider Ignition Mobile event in San Francisco. It was best illustrated by comments from Dan Levin, COO of online storage startup Box.
In one breath, Levin was talking about how providers like Box needed to pay homage to Microsoft Windows integration in order to win big tens-of-thousands-seats contracts with enterprise customers. But then in his next statement, Levin said BYOD was here to stay. So which is it? Are employees really leading the way with IT decisions? Or does Microsoft Windows still rule?
In a post earlier this week I argued with an analyst report that predicted Windows Tablets would beat iPads in the business market. One of my points, that Apple's tablets hold a huge installed base lead, was proven by recent research by Citrix which showed that iOS still holds a commanding lead in business mobile deployment. Such facts, however, fail to impress the legions of Windows believers, many of whom like to take offense to notions that something could supplant Windows in the enterprise.
Just read through some of the comments attached to the version of my blog post that was put up on our sister site ITworld: Though some of the commenters make valid points, there is a tone of sneering disbelief that reminds me a lot of the old guard who thought mainframes would be around forever. Surprising as it may be to some readers, I have no vested interest in any technology, product or platform. I do believe that mobility, BYOD and online apps are changing corporate IT, and I think that part of that change is the gradual decline of importance of the Windows-only architecture.
Am I wrong? Is Windows still dominant, and here to stay? As CIOs or IT professionals who need to make things work on a daily basis, you've got to have a thought or two on this subject. So let us know your thoughts. You can comment here on this post, or if you have a longer essay in mind, use our self-service blogging system (see links to the right) or you can also send me your thoughts via email, to paul at mobileenterprise360.com.