Forbes contributor and CRM expert Gene Marks makes the argument that any sizeable business will stick to its Microsoft platform and applications. There are plenty of good reasons to disagree:
* Cloud-based tools are cheaper.
* Apple‘s iPad has made a huge dent in Microsoft’s enterprise computing supremacy.
* Smart phones are becoming an increasingly prevalent computing platform, and Microsoft isn’t well-represented in the market. (That said, why does everyone, Mr. Marks included, feel they have to mock my Windows Phone?)
* I’m basing this on anecdotal evidence, but it seems that CIOs have a lot more luck getting OPEX budget than CAPEX budget; that makes service-based offerings more attractive.
There’s also the often-overlooked impact of the App Economy. Smart phone and tablet users expect to pay no more than $10 for an app that runs on their device, not $200 for a suite that runs on their computer. This is the real threat to Microsoft hegemony; how that plays out remains to be seen.
But Marks makes a several good points in Microsoft’s favour. Microsoft’s applications run much better than they used to. Tech support and developers are easier to find for Microsoft than for Apple. There are more Microsoft enterprise-calibre applications than on any other platform. And, if there’s any remnant of Redmond left in your shop — hello, Windows — there are going to be compatibility issues.
The argument he doesn’t make: Many companies simply aren’t ready to become absolutely dependent on the Internet for their applications. It makes sense for some applications — e-mail, for example, doesn’t work without an Internet connection, so a cloud-based product is no more useless than Outlook if the Net connection is down.
Some applications just work better locally. Some applications aren’t available in an cloud-based version.
So, in the near term anyway, don’t expect the enterprise market to go running to Apple or Google.