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Microsoft and Nokia take on the world…



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February 15, 2011 10:11 am

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Buckle-up: The MDM Blog

Last time I wrapped a conversation around how different people carry different views on what Mobile Device Management is and why it’s important. I was planning on continuing that conversation with Part 2—the “what do I do today” portion. Then Nokia and Microsoft felt like torching the entire blogosphere by announcing a new partnership—Part 2 will have to wait.

If you haven’t heard, Nokia and Microsoft are entering into a partnership wherein Nokia will use Microsoft’s Phone OS (currently the Windows 7 Phone OS) on its smartphones. Why is this a big deal? Because it has the potential to change the entire MDM space (although I don’t think this is likely). Not so many years ago Symbian, Nokia’s OS, was the most prolific on the planet—today it’s in free fall. And Microsoft, despite basically inventing the notion of smartphone OSes many years ago, and being an all-around behemoth, has almost no market share.

I’m not interested in the “who wins the market share” portion of the conversation—at least not on the surface. I happen to be keenly interested in how all of this affects the long-term world of MDM in the enterprise. After three whole days to causally think about it, here’s my three scenario prediction:

Scenario 1 (60% chance): The partnership is a bust—both blame the other for shortcomings and none of us care. Result: No course change on the current MDM trajectory and the irrelevancy of both Microsoft and Nokia in this space is confirmed.

Scenario 2 (35%): The partnership is a modest success—Windows 7 Phone gets something like 10% of the market and Nokia manages to not completely commodize its smartphone business. A partial win for both. Result: The MDM market gets a small bump as Microsoft starts to make a play by totally integrating Windows 7 Phone application management/distribution/patch into the SCCM architecture (which only recently had its mobile device platform integrated as well)—security remains a weakness for Microsoft but Nokia forces them to address this (integrating Bit-Locker/Data Protection Manager functionality into Windows 8 Phone management). Overall, a modest help for MDM but a help nonetheless.

Scenario 3 (5%): The partnership is a very solid win for both Micrsoft and Nokia—Windows get something like 20% – 30% by 2014 (with very high adoption in the enterprise space) and Nokia finally figures out how to build a compelling smartphone that people want to use. Result: The impact to MDM is considerable—particularly as Windows 8 comes online and gives smartphones a similar management/application/security paradigm as most Windows 8 PCs and Laptops (beyond what is suggested in scenario 2). Windows opens the door to very strong integration between traditional PC Configuration Lifecycle Management—itself already becoming tightly integrated with Endpoint Security Management—and MDM solutions. I would also assume this means a more effective bridge between the celluar/data carriers and MSPs giving enterprises more options to rolling out “Customer MDM”—or MDM built specifically for their needs. Enterprise IT rejoices at the new options.

Scenario 3 is the most interesting—however Android and iOS are moving very fast as it is, and Windows 7 Mobile started out slower with an inferior product. Microsoft needs to decide if it really wants to own this space or not. Scenario 3 would also force the hand of other MDM vendors to create a more universal management paradigm to MDM—meaning the entire issues of “what does MDM mean to you” is resolved (it’s no longer security, ops, services, or anything else—it’s all of them).

Taking all bets…

Coming next week—Part 2 of the previous thread (assuming no other major announcements this week).

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Categories: Collaboration, Endpoint Management

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