Analysis: Surface vs. iPad: The Weight of the World on Microsoft
In short, Microsoft Surface will be the more disruptive change from users' past Windows experience. The Nvidia-based tablet may be simpler, and more similar to the iPad, than the Intel-based Surface Pro, but the latter provides a Windows experience that users already know. Since users don't really like change, Surface Pro may be their version of choice.
Microsoft Surface Specs and IT Preferences
IT departments don't care for change much, either. As a result, you'd think they'd deem the Intel-based Surface Pro as the superior option, since it will be more compatible with the existing ecosystem. However, IT always wants a locked-down PC-and users, except in some financial and geographic markets, have rejected that concept. This has resulted in far more complexity at end points than IT would prefer.
Slideshow: Microsoft Surface in Pictures
The Nvidia-based tablet it basically locked down and tightly tied to Microsoft resources, just as the iPad is so tightly tied to Apple. Essentially, it's what we at one time called a chubby client, with many of the advantages of a thin client but still capable of running disconnected from the network. In addition, while both the Nvidia- and Intel-based Microsoft Surface tablets can be remotely managed, given that users own these things per se, remote management may not be the best option.
Decisions Ahead for Users, IT Departments Alike
In short, the current consumerization and BYOD environment suggests that nudging employees toward the Microsoft Surface running on Nvidia technology may be more beneficial for IT departments. It's a more forward-looking tablet, and it's likely a better representation of the future of BYOD.
At the same time, the Ivy Bridge-based Microsoft Surface Pro is a far less disruptive tablet and likely provides an easier path to adoption. For the first time in nearly two decades, then, both users and IT departments have a choice of platforms. This choice isn't trivial, either.
Thinking through this decision can help you decide which Microsoft Surface version you want personally and which one you want to point users toward. You may find the result very different depending on the hat you wear when the decision is made. It's something to think about while you sip umbrella drinks on the beach this summer before Microsoft Surface hits the market this fall.