There are significant changes brewing that will have profound impact on the enterprise IT market for decades to come. As the proliferation of mobile devices and adoption of cloud computing increases, there is a good chance that much of the conventional wisdom will be thrown out as new paradigms and new participants play an increasingly important role in enterprise IT. In a two-part blog, I will explore trends and discuss the potential implications for enterprises.
The Old Way
When PCs first started getting popular, they were mostly used for work-related activities within the confines of your workplace. Eventually these devices became affordable and usable with enough interesting consumer apps to show up in homes as well. Two significant trends came out of this model:
- From a technology standpoint, the dominant stack was WinTel – Microsoft Windows running on Intel x86 processors. Both vendors were hugely successful in this wave and even today still continue to reap the benefits. An entire ecosystem developed around the WinTel platform and IIRC, I heard something along the lines of, for every dollar Microsoft made on Windows; $18 was generated for the ecosystem. Small wonder, then, that WinTel became the platform.
- From a purchasing and process standpoint, enterprises bought computers and software directly from the vendors or from resellers and often times bought professional services to install, deploy and maintain their assets onsite.
The New Way
The old model was successful for nearly three decades but employee-owned devices and cloud computing have kicked off a profound shift that is turning things topsy-turvy for CIOs.
Apple’s Macs, iPhones and iPads are huge consumer successes and increasingly are finding their way into the enterprise. Interestingly, many of these devices are employee-owned. So, rather than enterprises buying devices and mandating technology stacks for their employees, the employees are purchasing end points and forcing enterprises to support them. The inmates are running the asylum! So much so that one CIO recently said, “Enterprises buying PCs and phones for their employees is so 20th century! We are fully expecting a vast majority of our employees to use their own PCs and phones and tablets within 12-18 months.”
Here’s where it starts getting interesting… Many of the devices that consumers are buying (smartphones and tablets) are not running Microsoft Windows, nor are they leveraging Intel’s x86 processors. Nearly 100% of smartphones and the vast majority of successful tablets utilize the ARM processor. So the question is, is ARM the new Intel? ZDnet’s recent blog on ARM is definitely worth a read. (I do realize that unlike Intel, ARM does not make the actual processors. Vendors QCOM, TI, Broadcom, nVidia, Samsung, Apple, etc. license ARM technology and include their “special sauce” to develop actual ARM SoCs that handset OEMs purchase. But, trying to say that Qualcomm/TI/Broadcom/nVidia/Samsung/Apple/etc. is the new Intel is just not that efficient or catchy.)
(Source: ZDNet blog referenced above.)
I was fascinated with the data below from 9to5mac.com that shows Apple’s revenues breakdown. 20% comes from Macs, which run on Intel x86 processors but the rest, a whopping 75%, comes from ARM devices and software/services sold to ARM devices. Whoa!
Apple Sales: Dominated by the ARM processor.
Canalys recently published their worldwide smartphone market share information. (See arsTechnica’s coverage here.) Google’s Android is the dominant smartphone OS and if their success with smartphones is any indication, they will dominant on tablets as well. Not sure what role Google Chrome OS will play quite yet, but is Google Android the new Microsoft Windows?
If ARM is the new Intel and if Google Android is the new Microsoft Windows, then is ARoogle (Google on ARM) the new WinTel for the 21st century?
Microsoft is now an ARM licensee and has shown a roadmap where Windows will run on ARM processors, but will it be too late? Either way, there seems to be a new stack coming to life right in front of our eyes.
ARoogle: More than just a catchy name or a pretty logo!
(Courtesy of Courtney Skay)
In the next blog, I will talk about how Aroogle and cloud computing affect what and how enterprises buy software and services in the future.