Last week I spent time with vendors telling stories about Microsoft Windows 8 and tablets. They told stories about how CIOs do NOT want Apple iPads in their business and that the CIOs are excited to finally get rid of iPads and install tablets running Windows for various reasons. Their reasoning included security and feature set, noting that iPads do not have features included like a stylus. Those that know me know that biting my tongue hurts because I must do it very hard when hearing comments like this. I know about two people that enjoy stylus input on mobile devices and personally cannot think anyone really wants that type of input for mobile devices. There are some people that enjoy taking notes on a tablet and believe that the stylus is the way to do this as it gives the user a more pen like feel to input.
My belief is that that the manufacturers of tablets, now including Microsoft, are going to implement this very badly at first and hurt their companies further. In my opinion the path to tablets in the business has been forged by Apple and being embraced by Citrix the best through their Receiver application . Delivering applications, desktops, and the ability to use GoToMeeting on the iPad is huge. Citrix is making the best play here so far and I am sure their will be a similar application for Windows 8 that will play well with the “Surface” like devices. I say Citrix is making the best play because I think VDI through tablets is not a great user experience. I believe Citrix can provide the best end user experience through XenApp published applications and through XenDesktop. Obvious to techies that publishing applications to the XenDesktop machines users will also have access to here is the best approach. I believe VMware to be far behind the curve of end user accessibility through tablets, but don’t count them out as many new projects are on the Horizon.
Those that know me know that I am an Apple “fanboy,” but am not being a “fanboy” here. I think that Microsoft could have a great product in Windows 8, but think that the manufacturing of devices to compete with the iPad by adding hardware isn’t the answer. The answer lies in simply copying what Apple has done (hopefully without lawsuits) and working hard with partners to give end users the best user experience.