Well it’s not like Windows 8 tablets (or Windows 8 in general) was setting the world on fire, but Microsoft’s decision to tie tablets to the desktop OS, rather than the the mobile OS (as Apple and Google have done) has one more unfortunate implication: tighter rules on BYOD management.
In a recent blog post by Forrester’s David Johnson, he notes:
Tablets and smartphones live by a simpler set of rules. NIST Special Publication 800-124, published in July 2012 [NB: there is an updated version of this policy] applies only to devices with “an operating system that is not a full-fledged desktop or laptop operating system,” including smartphones and tablets. In essense it means that there is a different set of considerations for Windows 8 tablets for BYOD than for iPads — because Microsoft tablets such as the Surface Pro have a full-fledged laptop OS and iPads do not.
The presumption being that more comprehensive security solutions and controls are available for desktops and laptops.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, that leaves Win8 tablets under the more stringent government guidelines. Not that there wasn’t already enough reason to steer clear of Windows 8 (there have been boatloads written in other spaces about that topic so I will pass on the piling on), but this can’t be helping CIO’s choose to stay on the upgrade path or adopt Win8 mobile devices. Even though WindowsPhone OS fits under the NIST guidelines, why would you invest in WP8 mobile phones if you aren’t adopting Windows 8 tablets and desktops?
Of course this kind of “guidance” is subject to change and I’m sure that Microsoft’s lobbyists and evangelists will work on changing the “full-fledged desktop” OS qualification, but for now it means operating under a more difficult set of rules if you wan to adopt Win8 tablets for your enterprise. Preparing your organization for BYOD is already hard work, you may not want to make it even harder on yourselves.