Surface RT 'a bit of a lemon', 'jury out' on Windows 8, says Civica CTO

By Peter Gothard
24 Jan 2013 View Comments

Civica CTO John Hood has branded Microsoft's Surface RT tablet "a bit of a lemon", telling Computing that the machine lacks the established ecosystem and standout features to separate it from existing products.

Speaking to Computing at the public sector software vendor's 2013 annual conference in Manchester yesterday, Hood commented: "What does it do that an iPad or a Galaxy doesn't do? Nothing, really. It's a bit me-too. So people are buying it, but it's not something I've gone to the group IT guys and said 'let's try one'. People who want that kind of capability have already got an Android device or an iPad.

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"It's a bit of a lemon. It's not established," added Hood.

"It'll be just [for] people who have an issue with Apple; we're back to the Windows/Apple argument again. But I don't think it'll get the market share in its current format. It's not something I would buy, and it's not something I think people would bring into work."

Hood, who controls IT provisioning internally at Civica, but also advises on the firm's dealings with the public sector, also expressed doubts about Windows 8 as a solution moving forward.

"The jury's out at the minute," he said. "I don't think there are enough devices, or enough clarity... the devices are only really just coming onto the market. Over half of our development environment is virtualised, and at the minute we haven't got a virtualised Windows 8 environment, so any devices we've got are being used locally, attached to physical servers."

However, like many, Hood holds out some hope for the slightly behind schedule February launch of Microsoft's fully Windows 8-equipped Surface Pro tablet.

"I'm really interested to see [what happens] when the Surface Pro comes out, because I think that has the potential to really drive BYOD forward," said Hood.

"[It represents] a single device that replaces iPads and PDAs due to the form factor of it, plus you can deliver apps on it easily, which at the moment are only the domain of the iPad and Android devices."

Strategy and architecture team manager at Cambridgeshire County Council Alan Shields, who is currently rolling out the council's BYOD scheme, told Computing that there is "nothing on the horizon at the moment" for Windows 8 at the council.

"But to be honest, we're quite backward," admitted Shields; "We've just moved to WIndows 7 on our desktop. And we're moving to Office 2010."

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