Plenty of people have offered their thoughts and opinions about Microsoft’s Surface devices after the company unveiled the two tablets earlier this week. One particular thread of conversation has been what Surface means for the iPad in businesses and enterprises. One piece that stood out to me was Justin Watt’s blog post Goliath Wants David’s Market.
Watt offers an interesting and well written argument that Surface may find success in many companies because they are still using legacy applications and processes – some of which may have originated long before Windows XP and OS X and have been patched countless times to over the years or decades to continue functioning. His core argument is that many iPad users access these tools using virtual desktop solutions like Citrix Receiver. As a result, at least for some tasks, the iPad functions as a Windows tablet. That could give Surface and other Windows tablets an edge over the iPad if they can directly deal with the legacy code involved or deliver the same virtual desktop experience.
The truth, however, is that many companies are chugging along on legacy solutions that were never designed to work with devices like the iPad. In fact, some widely used legacy systems have roots that weren’t even designed to work with Windows! In many companies, IT has been able to keep the age and state of those systems under wraps. But the iPad, and now the iPad versus Surface discussion, is now pushing that dirty little secret into the light of day.