Mobilizing Windows

By Lori Castle, Editor-in-Chief — February 17, 2014

Microsoft Windows has been unfailingly synonymous with PCs, as iOS has been with mobile. And from Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer to the company’s third CEO, Satya Nadella, the organization has acknowledged it mobile misses.  However, despite the consistent decline in PC shipments, Microsoft had maintained a formidable lead as the top operating system.

Until now; Gartner reported that in the last quarter of 2013, Apple’s combined sales of all Macs and iOS devices was slightly higher than all Windows PCs.
Before these stats were reported, Nadella in his Feb. 4 introductory email to all employees at Microsoft wrote, “Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.”  Maybe Nadella should send a thank you email to Google and VMware for their new partnership.

Extending Windows
VMware has joined forces with Google to ready corporate desktops for the mobile cloud era by providing secure, cloud access to Windows applications, data and desktops on Google Chromebooks.

Laptops have become the mobile answer to a full computing solution, but still come at a price. Chromebooks seek to be an affordable solution and play in the “ultramobile” category.

Ultra Growth
Additional data from Gartner shows that ultramobiles—which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells—will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market from 2014, at a rate of 54%.

Driven by an uptake in Windows ultramobiles, the PC market is estimated to remain flat in 2014 (0.2 percent), after a decline of 9.9% in 2013. The Gartner consumer survey showed that less than 8% of users would replace their laptop with a tablet, while a transfer to an ultrabook is almost twice this figure.

Lower TCO
To that end, the expanded VMWare/Google partnership is meant to enable enterprise customers to achieve greater security and lower device TCO (through Chromebooks), by providing cloud access to current and legacy applications, delivered on Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platform from VMware.

"Google Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs," said Amit Singh, President of Google Enterprise in a release. "Chromebooks are designed for the way people use computers today and are a secure, easy and cost-effective solution to help organizations embrace a new way of doing business. Through our partnership, businesses can now capitalize on these advantages with access to legacy applications, data and desktops they need to keep employees productive."

According to Sanjay Poonen, Executive Vice President and General Manager, End-User Computing, VMware, the company’s mission is to “radically simplify IT and enable customers to run any application, anywhere, any place, and any time, so they can work at the speed of life.”  He said that enabling Windows-based applications and desktops to run on Google Chromebooks “delivers on the promise of the mobile-cloud era without compromise."

Users will be able to access their Windows applications, data and desktops using VMware's Blast HTML5 technology from a Web-based application catalog on their Chromebook. In addition, VMware Horizon DaaS will provide enterprises with a choice between a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or remote desktop services (RDS) connection.

In opposite moves to gain more mobile market share recently, VMWare acquired enterprise mobility management (EMM) company AirWatch, while Google divested itself of its smartphone business, Motorola Mobility.

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