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What Microsoft's New Surface Tablet Means for Office Communication

Windows-based tablets have thus far failed to capture the imagination of the general public, let alone the enterprise set that could cement such devices as the productivity replacement for laptops and desktops. However, even with criticism of the Surface's late entry into the market, Microsoft is ideally positioned to use its ubiquity in the enterprise market to change the way businesses think about computing. The Surface tablet has the potential to change a lot for the modern office, which has already splintered and transformed so much over the past decade. Here's a look at how the Surface could do this.

Windows already has a leg up with the enterprise market, which it still largely dominates despite gains made by Apple in recent years. However, if Microsoft can't really deliver with Windows 8, it's not inconceivable that Apple will continue to erode its market share, and despite criticisms that Surface is merely a vehicle that MS is using to drive Windows 8 adoption, I really don't think that's what the Microsoft intends. It would simply be too short-sighted of them. The very fact that Microsoft felt the need to develop the tablet themselves, instead of relying on HP or Samsung, reveals that they see the writing on the wall. Whether or not they can pull off turning themselves and their PC manufacturing partners into designers of devices slick enough to rival the iPad is another story entirely.

Separate Mobile and Wi-Fi Models
The Surface RT model is built to capture mobile users, which is essential for the continually more fragmented office that all of us are working in. The lack of a viable smartphone or tablet thus far has been the entire reason that executives have forced their IT departments to accommodate iPhones and iPads. And even then, the majority of iPads sold are Wi-Fi only; the consumer market doesn't care that much about using their devices on the go. Business users, on the other hand, are likely to adopt a Surface RT.

Windows 8 Will Make IT Departments like Surface
Windows 8 promises easier, seamless integration of tablets into the existing laptop and desktop centered paradigm. That ease of use gives it the true potential to wow the enterprise market with devices that are simple to integrate with existing business services, with superior security and fewer compatibility issues over all, like having to run a Mac server for all those iOS devices.

By comparison, Apple isn't really targeting corporate IT at all. Microsoft has all of these tools that allow businesses to develop a secure cloud so their employees can work from anywhere. Also, iPad users who are locked out of certain applications because of lackluster Mac support may now have a comparable tablet that allows them to stop carting both a tablet and a laptop around just to have necessary functionality.

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