The Mistakes of Microsoft and Blackberry – They Ignored the Enterprises

Microsoft got envious of Apple’s iOS successes, and relentlessly followed suit. Now, (1) Microsoft has a $900M write-off in Surface WinRT tablets, (2) Surface alienated various PC OEMs who are not interested in building WinRT devices and are now increasingly developing Android PCs or hybrid Android-Windows PCs, and (3) Windows 8 touch experience for keyboard-mouse centric PCs confused users and delivered minimal values to enterprises. What makes Windows so powerful is its openness to enable an ecosystem of ISVs, and yet Win 8 touch UI followed Apple’s walled garden approach, where ISV innovations are now heavily constrained. Windows Store creates another app distribution channel that IT has to figure out how to best manage and control. In pursued of the consumer market, Microsoft has made various compromises that made Windows 8 and RT less relevant for businesses.

At the same time, the BYOD trend quickly propelled iOS into businesses, effectively breaking Blackberry’s strong hold in enterprises and government / public sector. Blackberry had the similar relentless push to fight Apple in the consumer space, but failed to recognize its roots are actually in businesses. An industry of iOS-centric MDM / MAM players has emerged to deliver what Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) has been delivering for enterprises. Blackberry could have a better shot at protecting its enterprise business by extending BES to support iOS and Android.

Both Microsoft and Blackberry would be in much better shape if they didn’t chase after Apple, but maintained their focus on solving customers’ (enterprises) problems in facing the mobile device explosion. Cloud services (private and public) are here to stay, while mobile devices are continually churned.