Skepticism mounts over Windows RT's enterprise role
Questions about IT's ability to manage Windows RT tablets makes the new OS a weak business candidate, say experts
Computerworld - Omissions from the feature set of Windows RT are making analysts increasingly skeptical that enterprises will gravitate toward tablets running the new forked version of Windows.
Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed that Windows RT, the operating system designed to run on battery-saving devices powered by ARM system-on-a-chip (SoC) silicon, will not include a pair of features critical to enterprises: Connectivity to a company's network, dubbed "domain joining," and support for Group Policies, a mechanism that enterprise IT administrators use to micro-manage machines.
Prior to this week, Microsoft had called the operating system "Windows on ARM," or WOA for short.
Microsoft had not given a clear answer on Windows RT's fit within enterprises before Monday, said Al Gillen of IDC. "I asked them this question point blank," he said, referring to face-to-face meetings between Microsoft and analysts earlier this year. "I never got an answer."
The lack of those features, as well as still-unanswered questions about how IT staffs will manage Windows RT devices, made Gillen and other analysts wary of recommending Windows RT devices -- tablets in particular -- for enterprise use.
"Based on what we know today, a Windows RT device will be no more manageable than an iPad," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, which focuses on the Redmond, Wash. developer's moves.
That may disappoint IT administrators who had expected that a Windows tablet would more easily integrate into their companies' networks and infrastructures than one from the consumer-oriented Apple. But Windows RT is increasingly seen by the experts as very similar to the iPad -- a consumer-only play -- and considering IT's needs, offers little to businesses.
"This solidly positions WOA [Windows RT] as a consumer device," argued Michael Silver, who covers Microsoft for Gartner. "As more information comes out, it looks like fewer and fewer organizations will be looking at WOA."
Information, or the lack of it, was a concern for Cherry and Gillen, who both noted that there was a lot still unsaid by Microsoft about how, or even if, Windows RT devices can be managed with standard enterprise tools such as Microsoft's own System Center.
"We're still dealing with information by a thousand cuts," said Cherry, of the dribs and drabs that Microsoft has disclosed.
"It's not clear," answered Gillen when asked whether hardware running Windows RT can be managed through tools available from Microsoft.
This week, Microsoft announced the availability of System Center 2012 and talked up Microsoft Intune, its cloud-based management platform. Nowhere in the recent blog posts and supporting materials for either System Center or Intune has Microsoft explicitly called out Windows RT, although it's named iOS and Android as supported.
- Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
- Microsoft plans to patch critical under-attack IE bug next week
- Microsoft reaches RTM milestone for Windows 8.1 update
- OS upgrades: Cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap
- No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
- Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
- Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
- Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Building a Bridge to the Next Generation Data Center Selecting a widely adopted operating system is a foundational component of a standardization strategy.
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts