HOUSTON: The low market share for Windows Phone 8 in the enterprise market is due to its initial failure to directly meet the 'consumer' demands of users, according to Microsoft senior director Stella Chernyak.
Chernyak told V3 that, despite work by Microsoft to make Windows Phone ideal for enterprise, the consumer offering of its OS was not enough and this damaged its bring your own device (BYOD) appeal, hampering its uptake.
She said Microsoft has fixed this issue with the forthcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update by adding a number of consumer features to the OS' core enterprise security and management services.
"A great enterprise phone starts by being a great phone for everyone. To achieve this with Windows Phone 8.1 we did a lot of things to improve the user interface and make it more customisable," Chernyak said.
"We also added our Cortana voice assistant. These additions mean companies will see more Windows Phone 8.1 devices coming in as employees' personal devices.
"On top of this we're also supporting enterprises' core needs by offering an open device management platform. This means any vendor can build a solution to manage Windows Phone 8.1. We've already had many do this and there are currently solutions from MobileIron and Airwatch in beta."
Chernyak is one of many technology professionals to warn businesses that they can no longer afford to ignore the BYOD movement.
Google head of enterprise in Northern Europe Thomas Davies argued that IT managers can no longer stop employees using consumer devices for work purposes, during a speech at the company's Atmosphere London event in April.
Chernyak listed Microsoft's work to create a 'Universal Application' development model as another key factor that will boost enterprise interest in Windows Phone 8.1.
"With Windows Phone 8.1 we're delivering a converged platform where 90 percent of APIs on it are also consistent with Windows," she said.
"This means people can write an application once and run it across our phones and tablets. This is another thing businesses really want and have requested from us."
Microsoft revealed the Universal Application development strategy at its Build conference. The strategy only officially launched earlier at TechEd when Microsoft unveiled a number of upgrades for its Visual Studio 2013 application development platform.
Chernyak explained that the strategy has already proved a hit, and that hundreds of businesses are currently testing Windows Phone 8.1 for mass deployment.
"Since unveiling it we've had an unbelievable amount of enthusiasm from enterprises for Windows Phone 8.1. Several hundred customers are participating in our enterprise adoption programme," she said.
"Several hundred in enterprise is a significant number and they are all Fortune 500-type customers. Our projection is to deploy [Windows Phones] to several million seats [individual employees] in the next few months."
Chernyak's comments come just after Microsoft confirmed plans to launch Windows Phone 8.1 in late June. Check back with V3 then for a full review of Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1.
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