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Competing For The Digital Workplace: Microsoft Vs. Apple/IBM



The digital workplace concept has been evolving for a while, and now, the major technology players are competing to make it a reality. The development of Windows 8 indicates that Microsoft was already thinking about it, and now it’s focused on realizing what it calls “the modern workplace.”

At the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) in July, Microsoft presented its future vision and goals for the coming year to its partners, with a strong emphasis on the digital workplace. Since Microsoft already has market share in the business world, it is adapting its operating system for mobile devices to create interoperability between life and the workplace, which makes both individuals and companies as effective as possible. This emphasis also extends to hybrid solutions within the digital workplace, helping individuals find what they need and share what they know within a technological business environment.

The near-simultaneous announcement of the new partnership of Apple and IBM shows that these technology giants are also making the digital workplace a priority — and hope to compete with Microsoft.

In terms of culture and market share, the Apple/IBM partnership seems counterintuitive: IBM has always been the big-business computing power while Apple has always focused on personal life experience and hardware manufacturing. While Apple has focused on interoperability between its own systems and outer systems, it has lacked Microsoft’s emphasis on individual or corporate security.

IBM, on the other hand, has an enterprise base, computing power and productivity tools that could compete with Microsoft’s, but does not have personalized hardware. The Apple/IBM partnership bridges the gap of creating personal experiences in the workplace that neither Apple nor IBM has been able to realize independently.

This focus on bridging personal and enterprise technology comes at an interesting time for these companies. While Microsoft has dominated with operating systems on devices for the last 20 years, Microsoft’s device share has decreased with the mass adoption of mobile devices. This year, sales of mobile devices, tablets and handhelds are surpassing laptops and desktops. That’s one of the driving factors for Microsoft’s move into the tablet market and focus on a “mobile first, cloud first” approach.

Apple’s trajectory has moved in the opposite direction, by and large, but its market share has also dwindled in recent years. Apple once dominated tablets and phones, but now it is losing ground to other operating systems, such as Google’s Android platform, so Apple also needs ways to diversify for the company to succeed.

The digital workplace is clearly the method of working in the future. And with Microsoft, Apple and IBM’s attention, technology that merges work and life is becoming more of a reality.

Learn more about helping your organization leverage today’s digital workplace capabilities by contacting Portal Solutions.


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