Will Microsoft Surface Rekindle RYOD?

The Microsoft Surface, whenever it arrives, is actually two machines. The lower end system running Windows RT seems destined to compete with the iPad within the general consumer market, while the higher end system running a full implementation of Windows 8 may indeed be perceived as a laptop computer rather than a tablet, and should be of interest to corporate buyers.

The Surface, if it works well, may compel may enterprise IT managers to try to rein in the current BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement that threatens chaos in the world. It seems eminently plausible for IT to embrace (if not extend) the Surface Windows 8 Pro model, and provide it as standard-issue equipment to company employees, in the old-fashioned RYOD (Receive Your Own Device) model.

The currently missing price point won’t be as much of an issue with the Pro model. I was issued a Thinkpad at an internal cost of $1,800 by a software company I worked for just a few years ago. A few people who complained enough got Macs, at much higher internal price points.

But the issue of whether the Surface will start with a pricing of $400 or $600 or $800 or more is less relevant to the higher end Pro.

Getting the Pro as a standard corporate provision will be splendidly ironic when it happens, because after all, Microsoft OS-based computers were the vanguard of the business PC revolution 30 years ago when corporate masses, tired of aloof mainframe IS managers, brought the new machines into their offices and integrated them into their everyday reality.

The IBM PC running Microsoft DOS were the original BYOD systems; now Microsoft stands as the bastion of the old guard. But no more speculation at this point – I’d like to see a real Surface machine work before I pronounce anything more about it.

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