The Bring Your Own Device to Work phenomenon has been the best salesman Apple ever had. The iPhone, MacBook and now iPad, not usually standard issue among businesses, have found their way into corporate America because employees were able to bring their hardware of preference to work.
However, having Apple under your corporate roof might not sit well with Microsoft. A survey of almost 800 enterprise-size customers by Directions on Microsoft showed that 67% already allow employees to use personal devices such as an iPad to access corporate IT infrastructure and assets.
Apple's iProducts have little to no enterprise support. The company has shunned the enterprise, and Steve Jobs famously said he "hated" it. So securing that iPad or MacBook is no easy task, and that might be the opening for Microsoft to whack you when it comes to expensive licensing requirements for Microsoft client and server products.
Directions said that Microsoft doesn’t build-in anything that would restrict customers’ use or deployment of the technology. You'd hope they learned that lesson after the Consent Decree.
"The cost to properly license iPads to access Microsoft software on corporate networks depends on architecture," Direction's cofounder Rob Horwitz told TabTimes. "Allow a user to access the network one way and it will cost your company hundreds of dollars per year for each iPad. Architect access another way and employee iPads may be covered by the licenses it already owns."
For example, Office could become a problem if the licensing is not handled properly. Despite the rumors of Office for iPad, that seems unlikely now as Microsoft has its own Office for Windows 8/RT tablets.
"For Office suite the general rule is that any device used to display the Office interface requires an Office license," Horwitz said in a recent Directions webinar entitled "Licensing BYOi (Bring Your Own iPad) in the Workplace" that's available for viewing on their site after you fill out a registration form.
So you could find yourself needing an Office license even if it's merely being displayed on an iPad, which is working as a dumb terminal.
I always said BYOD would be an idea people would embrace now and figure out the details later. It looks like "later" has already arrived.