Microsoft to Android, iOS users: Get off of my cloud

Microsoft execs want IT execs to let users choose their device, as long as that device is Windows

Microsoft executives say its high time for IT professionals to embrace the consumerization of IT, where employees choose the devices to work on, and all is run on the cloud. But they are somehow delusional in thinking that consumers will always choose Windows.

"Anyone [working in IT today] who thinks you can completely control devices should probably get another job," pronounced Tony Scott, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, during a live Webcast on Tuesdsay on the "consumerization of IT," produced by Microsoft.

Brad Anderson Microsoft
The solution is that IT needs to give up the idea of "control of the device" and embrace the idea of "governance" of the application, delivered via the cloud and desktop virtualization (VDI), explains Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Management & Security Division (pictured).

One Webcast attendee was all for it. This IT manager from Texas that uses Microsoft products said he's looking forward to moving to an "any device" policy -- but what holds him back is that most of Microsoft's products don't support anything but Windows. He particularly asked about Microsoft's remote access tool that comes with Windows Server 2008 R2, Remote Desktop Gateway. He wanted to know, when will it support iOS and Android?

Microsoft's Brad Anderson, sidestepped the RDG part of the question to answer that "Microsoft is building out services. ... Every service we build on the cloud can run on every device," he said.

He then pointed to Windows Intune, Microsoft's seven-month-old managed security cloud software distribution and security monitoring service upgraded earlier this month. He said that Intune "enables users to work on any device" and that if Microsoft is going to be able to "deliver" on the cloud, it can't just be for Windows but "has to be any device and that’s our strategy."

BUT, as its name implies, Windows Intune currently only supports Windows -- and only Windows PCs running XP, Vista and Windows 7, not even Windows Phone 7 (tablet support is questionable, too). Microsoft has only vaguely promised that Intune will support mobile devices sometime in the future and has not specified that the service will support non-Windows mobile devices at all.

If Intune is the example, then Microsoft's idea of "any device" is myopic.

Furthermore, during this Webcast, Steven Guggenheimer, demonstrated a whole slate of devices that he divided into two categories "commercial" and "consumer." One of the deciding points of the commercial device was whether it included a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. Guggenheimer is Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division. Other factors are multi-year support, rugged exteriors, access to a PC's guts so IT can repair them and docking stations.

Microsoft has much of its governance game plan hanging on TPM support in the devices. TPM, coupled with cloud services and desktop virtualization, will allow enterprises to deliver corporate applications as a service. They will control access to those services, secure the data used with them, be able to remote wipe them, and so on.

However, if consumers are picking their own devices, how likely are they to choose one with a TPM chip? And what happens to the Android, iOS, Google Chrome devices that don't have a chip? Answer seems to be, "get off of my cloud."

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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