Stuart Lynn, CIO of business software developer Sage UK, concurs. He reveals that at Sage’s UK headquarters, they’re “not big on Android… probably because iOS got there first. And once you give someone an iPhone, it’s very hard to get it off them. It’s the Tamagotchi of the computing world.”
To illustrate the increasing importance of iOS to enterprise app developers, Lynn points to Sage’s iOS solutions, which are selling faster than any of its other products.
So does Lynn think Apple has the enterprise mobility market wrapped up?
“It’s not going well for RIM at the moment,” he says. “I’d love to see it recover, having set the scene for push email years ago. But I think everyone’s warming up to that now. Just as Microsoft is warming up to the tablet market – Microsoft will be a force. It’s just a matter of time.”
Of course, with Sage being an early adopter of the Windows 8 Apps for Office model, Lynn could be biased here.
“We’re looking at Windows 8 as a potential opportunity,” he states. “We’ve got 6.3 million users running Windows applications today. They’re not going to switch to something else overnight.”
And with the addition of the forthcoming enterprise-class Surface Pro tablet, Lynn sees the complete Microsoft ecosystem as having a potentially huge impact on the endpoint of the future.
“If you multiply that 6.3 million by adding a couple more zeroes to the Office install base, that’s not just going to switch overnight. If you remember when Office was going to be killed by Star Office and things like that, and Google Docs – it did not happen. Big vendors with big franchises in the Microsoft world aren’t going to go away. And I think Windows 8’s mobility helps position people who leverage the Microsoft franchise for the future, because customers can now have any device and run effectively.”
Francis Sullivan, CTO and co-founder of IT professional support community Spiceworks, envisions a future where a device will slot into a tricked-out, in-office workstation, in much the same way as an iPhone can dock with a hotel room sound system today.
“The future lies in the specialisation of devices, for sure,” says Sullivan. “But when you get to that vision you need fewer devices, because those things are just basically your mobile desk at work, enhancing whatever you’re carrying round on the tablet. That desk could then reach out and get all the stuff you need on the cloud.
“And then you don’t even need a tablet,” continues Sullivan, “you just need a presence. So maybe your phone is the thing that identifies you, or something else you’re carrying with you, and wherever you sit down, it’s all brought to you on demand.
“The cool thing about a phone is, in two to three years’ time you can get a new one. You can think of them more like razor blades. That way, in five years or so the landscape could easily change.”