For over two years, Apple has been the apple of our IT eye. The company seemed to have single-handedly ushered in "The Great Consumerization of IT", a movement that caught technology giants like HP and Microsoft flatfooted and wanting.
Oddly, the tablet and more specifically the iPad, hasn’t revolutionized the way business is done, it’s caught up to how we as individuals wish business could be conducted – from the individual up. This isn't a surprise to those who have been with Apple since the IIe, MAC Se, iPOD, Powerbook or iPhone – Steve's clan has always played to the individual, the human being.
Back in the ‘80s the school of thought went like this, “…a Mac is for creative and marketing types and home use…PC’s are for business…”
In a real sense, this was true. Aldus PageMaker, for example, performed faster and cleaner on a Mac and it was much easier to learn than it’s 8-bit, Windows based contemporaries. But try and bill from your Mac for the project you just rendered and you were in trouble – not many accounting applications were built for the Mac. Apple didn’t do business and IBM/Intel/Microsoft ran the show.
Fast forward about 30 years and things have changed. Apple isn’t just for the marketing types more of us can now let our creative side out now that Macs are almost everywhere.
While the WinTel (Windows/Intel) Empire was refreshing logo’s and dusting off old slogans, a funny thing was happening. People bought tablets and smartphones and started lugging them into work. Not just any people – owners, executives, and the entire C-Suite received iPads, Androids or PowerBooks for Christmas and birthdays. Saturday afternoons, Presidents and CEO's learned how to read email, download files and get the latest news. The coming Monday morning they expected IT to connect their new toy with company data. Oh, and print.
And that’s when it happened. The Line between IT and consumers(end users) began to blur and the establishment barely noticed(publicly). End users were now dictating to IT what they wanted to use, how they wanted to work and where they wanted to work from. The cloud rolled in – files-boxes in the sky. Accessing data became easy, fast and nearly platform-centric -'Droids, 'CrackBerrys, iPhones and TouchPads(not so much). From 10,000 feet, we could watch movies, review the latest corporate financial statements, check service call history and write emails.
The Line blurred even more. Full life integration meant having the freedom to meet with colleagues, while stuck in traffic. It meant answering email or sitting in on a presentation, while waiting for your kids dentist and checking sales funnels from the yacht, tee box or or carpool line. Productivity went up, 24/7. We've done everything from determining what TV shows we watched and when - at 99 cents a pop, we customized work to life.
We took control - not remote control, direct control and the establishment was not amused.
Enter WIN8, Surface and a host of new devices, tablets and hybrid-tablets. More than clones, the WIN/Tel machines are now Replicants. All designed to re-introduce the line, darken the boundary and solidify the borders between work and play; reaffirming the centralized, 'master-slave', top-down, business model.
The new normal is the old stand-by: “Windows and Clang are for business, Apple is for fun (freedom)” their strategy is to re-affirm centralized IT control - no more apps, just licenses.
The WinTel Empire will leverage everything into their newest technologies, feeding the fear, espousing the “we know business” dogma and spending about 1.8 billion on advertising to build demand.
You see, the WinTel conglomerate doesn’t mind cornering end users into TWO computing devices; one for work and one for more than work – as long as at least ONE device is theirs. The WinTel Empire sees no reason to fear 99 cent apps because they see us as far too dull to imagine any spreadsheet or operating system other than theirs. It's worked in the past, why not now?
I'm no Yoda, but what I sense is a DeathStar full of déjà vu. The last Battle in the Clone Wars was between Team IBM/White boxes (Compaq, Acer, Leading Edge, Packard Bell, Gateway, Dell, etc.) and Apple. IBM pulled out. Microsoft started building pyramids and Apple wandered into the land of milk and honey. Seems Apple and IBM have prospered, while the others run head first into the Darkness.
To the Brink -
The War has been going on for decades and Apple has been content to dominate B2C and entering the business niche by walking right through the lobby not dropped in shipping and receiving.
WinTel has one card to play, "Windows 8 is your only real choice." They've got to re-establish the IT, and business World as theirs - they must get rid of the 'toys'- they must re-draw the fuzzy line of BYOD. It's their only hope.
This is the last Great Battle. MSFT and all the other 8-Bit Players - the Empire is fading.
One way or another, everything changes in 2012.