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Who should really worry about Apple/IBM? Microsoft

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | July 18, 2014
So Apple and IBM are hooking up. It's a match made in enterprise heaven, bringing together BYOD favorites the iPhone and the iPad with enterprise apps and cloud services from IBM. It's a win for Apple, which finally gets some serious business software chops, and for IBM, which gets device sex appeal.

Anyway, I'd give more credence to the heterogeneous-device argument if Microsoft itself were a mobile power. It's not. Windows Phone's market share is in a very distant third place, behind Android and iOS. Microsoft has so little faith in its Windows Phone platform that it's now offering its business mainstay Office suite on the iPad, and it's introducing new Android phones. If Microsoft doesn't believe in its own operating systems, why should you?

On the cloud side of Nadella's priorities, I actually like Microsoft Azure, and it beats the pants off of Apple's iCloud offerings. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Apple/IBM partnership will be basing services on IBM's open-source based BlueMix (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9246537/IBM_begins_moving_software_portfolio_to_the_cloud), not the iffy iCloud. And IBM has been working hard on beefing up its cloud services. IBM will have 40, count 'em, 40, data centers around the world by 2015 to support its cloud operations.

So which supplier do you think Joe Enterprise CIO is going to buy from? Let me ask that question in another way. If you're a CIO or senior IT staffer, what smartphone is in your pocket? Is it an iPhone or a Windows Phone? Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

Good luck, Microsoft, in the new mobile cloud world. You're going to need it.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was cutting-edge and 300bit/sec. was a fast Internet connection — and we liked it! He can be reached at sjvn@vna1.com.

 

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