Linking Microsoft Products to Consumer Accounts

I had initially envisioned Microsoft’s OneNote as a valuable product that had a place in the iOS productivity suite for the enterprise until I put it to the test. Functionally, OneNote did as I would expect. I was able to take notes and save them to our test Office365 site. It was Microsoft’s decision to link it to a Microsoft consumer account such as Hotmail, or Outlook.com that rendered it useless for the enterprise. In the enterprise the fewer accounts that represent a user the better. My initial thinking was that this was a marketing strategy to cripple the use of OneNote on iOS and make Microsoft’s own hardware more appealing.

After reading comments from Frank Shaw, Microsoft VP of Communications, about the Surface, I think I have a better understanding of what Microsoft is trying to do. Here’s the quote:

We saw too many people carrying two devices around (one for work and one for play) and dealing with the excess cost, weight and complexity…That’s what Surface is.

Sadly, Frank missed the point about why people carry two devices. It isn’t that iOS or Android users can’t run productivity software and be productive. They can. The problem is that enterprise policies force the separation.

When the enterprise changes their policies to support BYOD or Corporate Owned Personal Equipment (COPE), the user will need only one tablet, be it an iPad, Android Tablet or a Surface. Just last week I was able to open a Word form sent to me via e-mail to my employer owned iPad, convert it to a PDF, sign it and send it back to my IT support for processing.

I was also able to download a Word document, to a rich client iOS app, from SharePoint prepared earlier on my desktop workstation. I was able to complete the editing (including Track Changes and Comments), and post the revision back to the SharePoint site where the version was updated.

Requiring a Microsoft consumer account to to use OneNote isn’t going to solve the problem of people carrying multiple devices. Only enterprise policy changes will do that. From an enterprise perspective, it will only drive IT support staff to find alternatives to Microsoft products.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad