Consumerization tech, vendors and products: Winners and losers 2013

Consumerization shook up the IT industry in 2013. Some vendors and technologies came out on top, while others struggled to adapt.

After consumerization's breakout year in 2012, the trend fully established itself in 2013, with disruptive results.

Some traditional IT vendors struggled to adapt. Others got proactive, making acquisitions and developing new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. As 2013 winds to a close, let's take a look at some of the consumerization technology, vendors and products that will end the year on a high note -- and those that face an uphill climb in 2014.

Loser: Windows RT

There's still little interest and much confusion about Windows RT, especially in the enterprise. Microsoft has tried to make the consumer-focused tablet OS more appealing to business users by adding the popular Outlook email software to Windows 8.1 RT, but it still has only a tiny share of the market. (It's just ahead of BlackBerry, which hasn't introduced a new tablet in years.) The company also tried to eliminate some of the confusion around Windows 8 and Windows RT by dropping "RT" from the name of its second-generation Surface tablets.

The consumer market is gradually embracing Windows 8 and 8.1, but there are still many PC users who are holding on to Windows 7. Microsoft underestimated how upset customers would be about the changes to the user interface in the new OS.

Winner: Enterprise mobility management

When 2013 began, there was no shortage of standalone mobile device management and mobile application management products on the market. By the end of the year, larger vendors had gobbled many of them up. Now almost every major software vendor has an enterprise mobility management (EMM) offering, including IBM and Oracle, which acquired Fiberlink and Bitzer Mobile, respectively, in November. Microsoft and Citrix also unveiled new EMM suites this year. These developments validated EMM's comprehensive approach, at least on the vendor side. Will businesses follow suit in 2014?

Loser: Android in the enterprise

Android in general couldn't find much of an enterprise market in 2013. Some companies still regard the OS as too insecure, with malware perceived to be readily available in the Google Play app store. Even Samsung, the torch-bearer for secure, enterprise-ready Android devices, was dealt a blow; a December report in the Wall Street Journal said its Knox security platform has been "beset by delays and programming bugs."

Businesses looking for tablet alternatives to Windows almost always turn to Apple's iPad, which brings fewer worries about security and offers a longer battery life. On the smartphone side, Android fragmentation continued to be a major issue; many leading devices didn't have access to the latest Android operating system versions by year's end, which complicated enterprise management.

Winner: Dell

Dell emerged from a tumultuous 2013 with a clear strategy and direction heading into the New Year. The company -- once again private, after a particularly nasty spat between CEO Michael Dell and billionaire investor Carl Icahn -- is looking to compete in the enterprise market with its solid lineup of recent Windows 8 tablets and laptops. Dell's December launch of its own EMM platform furthered that mission.

Loser: BlackBerry

The company formerly known as Research In Motion tried to start anew this year, renaming itself BlackBerry and releasing new devices with a new operating system. But BlackBerry 10's consumer/enterprise balancing act ended up not appealing to either customer base. CEO Thorsten Heins resigned in November, and his replacement John Chen wrote an open letter to enterprise customers that said "reports of our death are greatly exaggerated" -- which is never an encouraging sign. In 2014, BlackBerry will hang its hat on EMM, focusing on the iOS and Android management capabilities in BlackBerry Enterprise Service.

Editors Jamison Cush, Ed Hardy, Jerry Jackson and Colin Steele contributed to this report.

This was first published in December 2013
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