Three years ago I was asked the same question pretty frequently – by both customers and media. At the time, it was a legitimate question, but today it comes up very rarely. The question was: “Is Microsoft committed to supporting the Apple and Google platforms?”
The frequency of that question changed dramatically on March 27, 2014. On that day we announced and released Office on the iPad. The Office mobile apps on iOS are simply beautiful, incredibly user friendly, and a clear signal of just how committed we are to empowering users to achieve more on any device.
Every once in a while I still get that question, but by now it’s pretty rare. What I hear slightly more often, however, is one of the EMS competitors questioning Microsoft’s commitment to all platforms. Raising this question is a classic FUD tactic. Getting to the bottom of it is pretty simple: Any examination of what we’ve put into the market over the last 2+ years makes it impossible to mistake our commitment to ensuring that users can achieve more on any device and any platform.
With all of this in mind, consider a few data points about how Microsoft is working with those other platforms:
- There have been more than 400M downloads of the Office mobile apps on iOS and Android.
- There are more than 30M active users of Outlook on iOS and Android – and it is the highest rated e-mail app in those stores.
- Within Intune and ConfigMgr we are managing millions of mobile devices – 50% of the devices are iOS and 25% are Android.
- A quick scroll through the archive of this blog shows a heavy emphasis on iOS and Android.
Our CEO talks a lot about delivering innovations “that customers love” and we are putting in a tremendous amount of effort to deliver on our corporate mission of enabling every person on the planet and every organization to achieve more. To do this we have to enable users and organizations to work with the platforms they want to use. It stands to reason that we’re doing something right since so many individuals are using these apps so widely.
Another way to look at our commitment to enabling users to be productive on all-platforms is to look at the pattern of how we roll out new capabilities. The pattern may actually surprise you! Take a look at all the places where new capabilities from Microsoft were rolled out on iOS and Android before Windows:
- The Office mobile apps that were built for touch-first on mobile devices were released first on iOS and Android.
- The EMS MAM containers for enabling Data Loss Prevention were delivered first on iOS and Android.
- The EMS MAM without device enrollment (MAM only) were delivered first on iOS and Android.
It’s also interesting to consider that at the launch of the iPad Pro there was only one non-Apple employee on stage: Kirk Koeningsbauer from Microsoft demoing Office on the iPad Pro. It is no exaggeration to say that we have a tremendous partnership with Apple and Google in these enterprise areas. Apple and Google recognize that Microsoft has a tremendous footprint in the infrastructure and apps used by most enterprises. At Microsoft, we realize that the majority of the world’s smartphones are based on platforms from Apple and Google.
Another way to look at the way we are making our investments is to consider all the cloud SaaS apps that we support with EMS. One the most commonly used components of EMS is what we call Cloud App Management – this is a feature that enables IT professionals to bring under management all the cloud SaaS apps being used by their organization. Cloud App Management discovers all the apps that are in use and then enables you to choose which ones you want to manage. By bringing these apps under management you can now do automated user provisioning and de-provisioning with Azure Active Directory. AAD is your authoritative source of identity and it is able to create/sync user account changes with many different SaaS apps. This also provides a fantastic single-sign-on (SSO) experience for your users with those SaaS apps. Once the apps are under management, you can take advantage of all the of Machine Learning and data analytics to perform a wide variety of functions like identifying compromised accounts.
Here is the top list of SaaS apps that organizations brought under management in the last 30 days:
- Office 365
- Google Apps
- Facebook at Work
- Zscaler two
- Cornerstone On Demand
By working together, we all win and you win. This shift in perspective has been among the biggest and most fundamental changes in the industry over the past couple of years – and Microsoft has been a big part of this shift. These changes emphasize that, throughout the tech industry, there is much more coopetition than outright competition. Each of the huge platform companies have places where there is overlap and competition, and then places where we all benefit from to integrating and cooperating.