BYOD (bring your own device) is changing the shape of business computing. Instead of buying computers and phones for employees, many companies now let workers choose their own technology.
It’s smart because workers are happier when they have some control over how they work. Happy workers are productive workers.
The downside is that BYOD can cause headaches for technology departments which struggle to integrate all the different brands, operating systems, screen sizes and standards with existing business systems.
BYOD can also be expensive and let’s not forget the security risks.
Apple is the big winner from BYOD. Given the choice, most people prefer Apple computers, tablets and phones over other brands.
So by extension, Microsoft is the loser. Historically companies have standardised on Microsoft’s technologies: bosses expect employees to use Windows and Office whether they like it or not.
A hard sell for Microsoft
As Andrew Birmingham points out at Computerworld Australia, Windows 8 may prove a hard sell in a world of BYOD.
It’s an important point. Microsoft has done wonders rebooting its technologies to make them relevant for a post-Wintel era, but it may not have gone far enough to win over the hearts and minds of everyday employees who can increasingly choose their own tools.
In the short-term, BYOD will hurt Microsoft. But the company is already fighting back. It takes time to turn a supertanker, but Microsoft is already making course corrections. In mid-2012 the company started to look competitive again. That’s a good thing. The more competition the better.