“Consumerization of IT”, sounds familiar, isn’t it? When I think about that, there is one company that draws my attention: Apple.
To put things in perspective: I owned an iPhone in the past and a Macbook today. I do think they make pretty decent hardware, but no longer the best hardware available on the market.
Aside from that, Apple managed to create a solid and huge eco-system with iOS on iPad, iPod and iPhone. Their products work very well from a consumer perspective (except if you’re looking to find your way home) and integrate well with each other. That being said, I understand very well why people buy these devices.
Unfortunately as an IT Professional they gave me a few headaches in the last years…. a short (maybe incomplete) overview:
2009: iOS 3.0 Calendar bug
When you accept a meeting invite, iOS replies with a different name in the FROM field, causing the meeting organizer to think someone else accepted the meeting.
2009: iOS 3.1 Device Encryption policy enforcement
As an IT Professional you enabled device encryption because you want your company data to be secure on mobile devices. Until version 3.1, Apple devices just fooled you and ignored this setting: while the device was unencrypted, the phone reported to Exchange that everything was OK. Many users with iPhone’s that did not support device encryption connected their devices to Exchange.
Then Apple released iOS 3.1 and decided to implement the policy, causing any existing iPhone 3G users to being blocked out of Exchange synchronizatio (only iPhone 3Gs devices and newer can be hardware encrypted).
June 2010: iOS 4 Active Sync Performance issue
The issue with iOS 4 results in additional load on Exchange Server, which may cause
performance issues on Exchange 2010/2007 Client Access servers. The issue wasn’t limited to iPhone connectivity to Exchange Servers, but also extends to Google’s Gmail service, which uses EAS to offer mobile email access. iOS 4′s default timeout for EAS
requests was set to a very low 30 seconds, causing the requests to
timeout and resulting in additional requests being made by the iOS 4
March 2011: iOS 4.2 and earlier Recurring Calender event Bug
In specific conditions iOS would erase an entire recurring calendar event.
October 2012: iOS 6 Active Sync Calendar bug.
When someone in a meeting cancels the meeting, the phone sends a cancellation to everyone in the meeting instead of only the organizer.
It may be clear that from an enterprise perspective, it is very difficult to cope with the “consumerization of IT” when one of the richest tech-companies fails to implement a protocol specification decently. Every software contains bugs, but as a professional organization you really need a quick support channel and a roadmap for your internal planning.
– Does Apple deliver on both of these points: no.
– Would Apple be better accepted in the enterprise market if they would: definitely.
– Do they have money to get it fixed? yes
The point is… It looks like they don’t care because their business model is based on secrecy and surprises. While it did very well for them, as an enterprise customer, I can’t wait for alternatives like Windows Phone 8 and Surface … For me this is also the reason why Surface and Windows Phone 8 will be a success, especially in business environments. If Apple would have taken business seriously from the start, they would already have more momentum right now.
PS: I could write a similar article for Android, which even has a worse track record.
Microsoft released a statement on the EHLO blog regarding the new iOS 6 bug.
Apparently the list with problems on iOS and android is HUGE.
Disclaimer: this post is my personal opinion on the matter and based on in-the-field experiences. If you feel you disagree, feel free to respond on this blog.