The iPad is not the best business computer.
There is a lot of optimism around Microsoft recently, and a report from Business Insider from a Chief Information Officer from a large enterprise company that plans to buy 4000 Surface Pro tablets instead of iPads will certainly continue to add fuel to the fire.
He plans to use the tablets to replace 4,000 aging Windows PCs, devices which he initially planned to replace with iPads.
"For a large part of the executive team, we do need mobile devices and we were leaning towards the iPad," he said. "That’s that’s changed with the Surface."
He notes it takes as long to learn the iPad user interface than Windows 8, and it did not offer the same advantages.
"The big killer app for us is Office," he said. "We want to do Office natively" on the device because there’s better compatibility when running old Office documents than using an iPad app like Apps To Go, he said. Plus, the Surface runs Adobe software like Flash.
"Windows 8 drives you batty for exactly four hours … seriously," he said. "Get yourself a Surface and it takes you a day to get used to keyboard and it takes about four hours to learn the touch interface."
The unnamed executive is also encouraging companies to upgrade to Windows 8 sooner rather than later.
In his tests, he said apps ran "15%-20%" faster on Windows 8 over Windows 7. That’s a "noticeable" difference, he says.
"Any app that runs on Windows 7 runs better on Windows 8," he said, because Windows 8 needs less memory and boots faster. "It’s a hell of a lot more responsive."
Hopefully this enthusiasm will spread through the business community and result in a faster upgrade cycle than currently expected, with many companies only now finishing the Windows 7 upgrade.
The company most at risk is Apple, with companies seemingly gravitating strongly to their old and trusted partner.
In a survey of 175 small businesses by iYogi Insights, 29% who had no tablet were considering Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets rather than an iPad. Of those that already had an iPad, 38% said they are considering changing to Windows 8.
As in the example above, Windows 8 is more likely to come into a company via tablets than PCs at the minute, according to an informal survey of 700 IT execs by Fiberlink, which makes software for managing mobile devices, but this trojan horse may also encourage the move to Windows 8 on the desktop also.
The new reality is being reflected in Microsoft shares for once, with the company up 5.8% over the course of the week, while Apple is down 5.4%.