December 03, 2012, 4:26 PM — IPads are already making their way into businesses via bring-your-own-device efforts with Microsoft Surface RT tablets hoping to follow suit as employees lobby for their favorite devices. But which one makes more sense from an IT perspective?
The two products are roughly similar in price ($500), run touch-centric operating systems, are highly portable and weigh about a pound and a half.
The two most significant differences are that Surface RT comes with both a keyboard and a version of Microsoft Office - Office 2013 Home & Student 2013 RT - which expand the potential corporate utility of the devices.
Third-party keyboards are available for iPads as are third-party versions of Office-compatible productivity suites but they represent more work for IT. A rumor says Microsoft is working on a client that will allow accessing Office from an iPad through Microsoft's service Office 365.
IN PICTURES: First look: Windows RT
PHYSICAL COMPARISON: Microsoft Surface RT vs. Apple iPad
Office on Surface RT has its limitations. It lacks Outlook but includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and the Surface RT version requires a business license in order to be used for work. Still, having it installed out of the box is a leg up and gives workers the opportunity to tap into the productivity suite. The keyboard is a big plus.