Apple and Google make seamless, efficient computers, mobile devices, and software. Microsoft and R.I.M. (the Blackberry folks) make products that are baffling, cluttered, and vaguely Jurassic. But this item from Politico epitomizes how - slowly but surely - the Microsoft/Blackberry chokehold over workplaces is easing:
At first, not even the White House was immune:
When the iPad made its debut last year, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, then-senior adviser David Axelrod and Jason Furman, the principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, were seen carrying the devices around the West Wing. Soon after, more than a dozen aides had the products.
But the White House information technology office refused to let staffers use them to access official email.
“It was more than frustrating,” the former White House aide said. “Here we were, this young hip administration, and we were using stodgy BlackBerrys and old Microsoft programs. A lot of us were starting to get iPhones and iPads, and we couldn’t really use them.”
Now, 1600 Penn has an “Apple pilot program”:
Due to popular demand by aides, the White House is moving to incorporate Apple devices into its daily routine. Last month, the information technology office launched a pilot program for the Executive Office of the President that allows Apple-loving staffers to access their official email accounts on their iPads and iPhones through a secure connection, a White House official told POLITICO.
In a recent interview with Fortune, the outgoing White House Chief Information Officer reinforced the need to let employees use their preferred technologies - rather than sclerotic devices imposed from on high:
Let all government employees go out there, pick whatever mobile device they want, and let competition decide which is a better technology, instead of having some random bureaucrat setting a standard for millions of people.
A recent Forrester Research study showed 35 percent of workers in the United States either buy their own smartphone for work, use unsanctioned Web sites or download unapproved applications on a work computer. Why? Twenty four percent of do-it-yourselfers say the technology is better than what their job provides. Thirty-six percent say they need it, and their employer won’t provide an alternative. And nearly 40 percent say they use it at home and, well, they want it at work, too.
It’s an inevitable consequence of an increasingly-embarassing gap between devices preferred by consumers and those chosen by “the enterprise”: “Asked what he typically hears from workers about government- or corporate-provided technology, [former White House CIO] Kundra said, ‘It’s not a question of whether they don’t like it. They despise it.’”