There's a sentiment that often comes up when discussing BYOD, the changing workplace, and the consumerization trend as a whole. It's the idea that consumer-oriented cloud services and mobile apps are delivering a much better user experience than an IT staff, business software, and enterprise developers can provide. That's led companies like Enterproid and Apperian to focus on the end-user experience as well as the IT and management experience of their mobile management products. Both companies see the end user experience as a powerful competitive advantage.
Microsoft should worry about Chromebooks as much as it worried about Linux desktops
[Update: the rumors were true -- HP unveiled a 14-inch Chromebook, the biggest yet, for $349 on Feb. 4.]
At the same time, Acer president Jim Wong told Bloomberg that Windows 8 is "not successful" yet, but that it's seeing suprising traction with Chrome devices, and is thinking of expanding its lineup.
It’s easy to look at these new Chromebooks as doom for Windows. But history tells us that it’s more likely that this is another example of OEMs turning to Linux, with little success, in part as an expression of unhappiness with Microsoft.
Remember when Dell started making Linux machines and selling them at WalMart? They weren't a ringing success.
Then there was the netbook craze, which started with the Linux-based EeePC. Within a couple years, Microsoft had utterly conquered that market -- before netbooks fizzled out entirely.
Part of the reason is that people are accustomed to using Windows. Dell once said that it was getting higher rates of returns on Linux netbooks because people thought they were buying low-cost Windows machines. Once they started up the machines and found an unfamiliar interface, they returned them.
Lack of familiar applications and support for hardware peripherals are other reasons why the Linux desktop never reached a broad audience.
Times have changed a bit since then. People are more used to different operating systems because of the variety of non-Windows smartphones and tablets that have become widely used. That may give Chromebooks a leg up over past attempts at pushing Linux out to the masses. Plus, Google is pushing Chromebooks to businesses and schools, citing them as a low-cost, highly secure way of accessing web apps -- like Google's own suite. Plus, thanks to its strong online advertising business, Google is a lot better funded than the companies that tried to push Linux during the last decade. The company earned more than $2.7 billion in profit last quarter, and has more than $48 billion in cash on the books. If it wants to make a play for the low-end of the PC market, Google certainly is well-positioned to do so.
But given the history of attempts to popularize Linux PCs, it’s more likely that Chromebooks will remain a niche machine. People will experiment with them, but unless they're ready to go 100% web, and live without support for popular peripherals, they'll probably remain an early-adopter product with traction in some niches.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is learning from Google's example and increasing the emphasis on Office 365, its online version of Office and related products.
Bring your own device is so 2012. The next big push in the consumerization of IT is bring your own cloud. And just as when consumer devices poured into the enterprise, many IT organizations have already responded with a list of do's and don'ts.
Skyhigh monitors what cloud services employees are using and said that most businesses are surprised at what it finds.
A study by Cisco Systems' Internet Business Solutions Group concludes that the value companies currently derive from BYOD is "dwarfed by the gains that would be possible if they were to implement BYOD more strategically."